Watch The Scarlet Letter
- 2 hr 15 min
The Scarlet Letter is a 1995 film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Directed by Roland JoffÃ© and starring Demi Moore, Gary Oldman, and Robert Duvall, the film follows Hester Prynne (Moore), a woman living in 17th century Puritan Boston who commits adultery and becomes pregnant with a child. She is forced to wear the scarlet letter "A" on her chest as a symbol of her shame and is condemned by the community for her sin. The film opens with Hester traveling to Boston from England to reunite with her husband, Roger Prynne (Duvall), a respected minister. However, upon arrival she discovers that he has not come to meet her and is presumed dead. Hester is left alone and struggling to survive in a new and harsh environment. She eventually falls in love with Arthur Dimmesdale, the young and charismatic minister of the town (Oldman), and they begin an affair. As the community becomes aware of Hester's sin, she is publicly shamed and forced to stand on the scaffold with her baby while being ridiculed and condemned. Roger, who is in fact alive and has been living with a Native American tribe, returns to Boston and seeks revenge on Hester and Dimmesdale. Meanwhile, Dimmesdale's own guilt over his affair with Hester and his inability to confess to his congregation consumes him. The film explores themes of sin, redemption, and the effects of societal expectations and religious dogma on individuals. Hester is portrayed as a strong and independent woman who refuses to be broken by the harsh judgment of her community. Dimmesdale, on the other hand, is torn between his duty as a minister and his love for Hester. Roger represents the darker side of Puritanism, as he seeks to punish Hester and Dimmesdale using violent and extreme methods. The Scarlet Letter received mixed reviews from critics, with many praising the performances of the cast but criticizing the film's pacing and direction. Demi Moore was particularly praised for her portrayal of Hester, with some critics arguing that it was her best performance to date. The film was also notable for its haunting score by John Barry and its stunning cinematography by Alex Thomson. Overall, The Scarlet Letter is a thought-provoking adaptation of one of the most iconic American novels. With its strong performances and beautifully-shot scenes, it transports audiences to a distant time and place, exploring timeless themes that are still relevant today.