Film Scouts Reviews

"Mary Reilly"

by Leslie Rigoulot

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Feb 20, 1996

Do you remember the duet that Barbra Steisand did with Don Johnson? It really
served to point out how great her talent was and small his was. Well, that's the
only way I can describe Julia Roberts and John Malkovich in "Mary Reilly". He
takes on two roles as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as easily as Streisand hits the
highs and lows with nuance galore in between. Julia Roberts struggles to keep
up while lapsing into and out of accents of various origins.

The concept of Jekyll and Hyde from a female perspective is an attractive one.
Director Stephen Frears, screenwriter Christopher Hampton and producer Norma
Heyman worked Oscar magic with "Dangerous Liaisons" and thought to do the
same with Valerie Martin's best selling novel. After all, everyone loves a damsel
in distress, good versus evil story. Malkovich relished the opportunity to work
with the "Liaisons" team again. But it is no secret that tensions ran high on the
Pinewood set in England. Post production and re-shooting caused the delay of
the film from fall of '95 to spring of '96. But they didn't re-shoot enough to give
Roberts any acting ability. She is the center of the film as the housemaid whose
past intrigues Jekyll and Hyde. And Roberts just can't handle it.

'Boring' is just about the worst thing a movie can be and "Mary Reilly" is boring.

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