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Laramie Movie Scope:
Mary Reilly

An offbeat Jeckyl and Hyde story

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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February 26, 1996 -- ``Mary Reilly'' puts a gothic romantic twist on the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story. Most Jekyll and Hyde adaptations are bloody horror films. This one is different. It is subtle and introverted. All of the action is psychological.

The very talented John Malkovich (``In the Line of Fire'') plays the Jekyll-Hyde characters while Julia Roberts does a good job as the exploited Mary Reilly. Glenn Close does a nice turn as a tough madam, Mrs. Farraday.

Reilly, Jekyll's maid with a dark past of child abuse, falls in love with Dr. Jekyll. She is repulsed at first by his alter ego, Hyde, but eventually is attracted to him.

Reilly is trying to break free of the stifling sexual and class oppression of the time. At the same time she is breaking free of her shackles, she falls into a tragic romantic relationship. Reilly's mother dies and she is confronted by her abusive father after the funeral. Somehow, Reilly becomes stronger as she confronts this series of tragedies. She is enobled by them.

The story really revolves around Reilly more than it does Jekyll or Hyde. But the film also does a good job of exploring the nature of good and evil in the human soul and how each is an essential part of our natures.

The set and costume design are outstanding. The photography is dark and foggy. A sense of foreboding and decay permeates the film. The only weakness of the film is that it really isn't emotionally engaging. It is a little cool. It rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)