The Portrait of a Lady

Watch The Portrait of a Lady

"Based on the Novel by Henry James."
  • PG-13
  • 1996
  • 2 hr 22 min
  • 6.2  (12,476)
  • 60

The Portrait of a Lady is a period drama film that was released in 1996. It is based on the 1881 novel of the same name by Henry James. The movie has an impressive cast that includes Nicole Kidman, John Malkovich, and Barbara Hershey, among others. The film was directed by Jane Campion, who has received critical acclaim for her films like The Piano.

The story of The Portrait of a Lady revolves around Isabel Archer (Nicole Kidman), a young American woman who travels to Europe with her aunt, Lydia Touchett (Sheila Gish). Isabel is an intelligent and independent woman, but she is also naive and easily influenced. She rejects several suitors, including the wealthy Lord Warburton (Richard E. Grant), as she wants to find someone who values her mind and not just her beauty.

Isabel meets an older man named Gilbert Osmond (John Malkovich) at a party, and he begins to court her. Osmond is a widower who lives in Florence with his daughter Pansy (Valentina Cervi). Osmond is charming and charismatic, but he has a sinister side to him. Isabel does not see this side of him at first and falls in love with him, even though her friends and family warn her against him.

Osmond asks Isabel to marry him, and she accepts. She moves to Florence with him and Pansy, but soon realizes that her marriage is a mistake. Osmond is controlling and manipulative, and Isabel feels trapped. She confides in her friend Madame Merle (Barbara Hershey), who also has a mysterious past with Osmond. Madame Merle advises Isabel to stay in her marriage, even though she knows that Osmond is not good for her.

Isabel struggles to assert her independence and make her own decisions. She meets an American expatriate named Caspar Goodwood (Viggo Mortensen), who was once in love with her. Goodwood tells her that he still loves her and wants her to leave Osmond and marry him. Isabel is torn between her duty as a wife and her desire for freedom.

The Portrait of a Lady is a beautifully shot film that captures the mood and atmosphere of 19th-century Europe. The costumes, scenery, and lighting all contribute to creating a sense of time and place. The film also has a haunting score by Wojciech Kilar, which adds to the emotional intensity of the story.

Nicole Kidman gives an outstanding performance as Isabel Archer. She portrays her character as both strong and vulnerable, making her a complex and sympathetic figure. John Malkovich is also excellent as Gilbert Osmond. He plays him as a charming and sophisticated man, but with a dark side that is menacing.

Barbara Hershey is convincing as Madame Merle, a woman who is both enigmatic and manipulative. Viggo Mortensen is good in his role as Caspar Goodwood, although his character is not developed as much as the others.

Overall, The Portrait of a Lady is a well-made film that captures the essence of the novel. The story is compelling and emotionally charged, and the performances are memorable. It is a must-see for fans of period dramas and literature adaptations.

The Portrait of a Lady
The Portrait of a Lady doesn't appear to be available from any streaming services.
Add this movie to your Watchlist to get notified when it's available.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 22 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.2  (12,476)
  • Metascore