Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0004825, Mon, 28 Feb 2000 09:17:44 -0800

Re: Lolita/American Beauty (fwd)

I'm sorry, but I'm sure that Jane and her friend are 18 - her friend, the AB
(still can't remember her name), says she's 18 - and they're driving cars
and smoking joints and doing other sorts of (relatively) grown-up things...
that's right, like having sex! There is also a distinction to be considered
between the maturity and sophistication of teenagers in the 1990s and the
late 1940s.

And I also have to say that the film left me feeling like I'd been
manipulated and abused. The only moments of relief came from Spacey and
Benning who are hilarious. As with a number of recent films, AB tries to
address serious and disturbing issues, but does so in a superficial way, and
it's only impact is a shock/sensational one, wrapped up in some very clever
but sometimes cumbersome directorial devices. Adrian Lyne's Lolita had the
same effect, I felt, but was more offensive because of its deeply
chauvinistic sensibility, something that doesn't exist either in the novel,
or even Kubrick's version.

I realise I'm in a minority in thinking that AB is trash, but I can't
believe that other people don't see it's utter vacuity...

Barbara Wyllie