MARY REILLY Add To My Top 10

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Release Date: February 23, 1996

Starring: Julia Roberts, John Malkovich, George Cole, Michael Gambon, Kathy Staff, & Glenn Close

Genre: Horror

Audience:

Rating: R

Runtime: 118 minutes

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Content:

(Pa, L, VVV, SS, NN, A, D, M) Confused Pagan worldview with hints of biblical concerns as well as Freudian analysis; 2 obscenities & 1 profanity; grotesque violence with lots of blood including stabbing a man with a cane, chopping off a woman's head, locking a rat in a compartment with a young child, kicking a child senseless, beatings, slappings, child abuse, & lots of shots of blood, animal corpses, medical corpses, & grotesqueries; attempted rape & prostitution inside a house of ill-repute; partial female nudity & pornographic pictures; alcoholism; drug use; lying & deception

Summary:

MARY REILLY played by Julia Roberts is a former child abuse victim attracted to the brutality of her employer, the infamous Dr. Jeckyl. This film has beautiful sets, incredible art direction and good acting. The problem is the script: it doesn't have a moral perspective. Furthermore, there is extensive bloody violence, making this movie a bloody, amoral mess.

Review:

People walked out of the MARY REILLY screening complaining that it might be the worst film they had ever seen. Our sweet heroine, Mary (Julia Roberts) was an abused child. (Her alcoholic father locked her in a cubicle with a rat that gnawed her hands and her neck.) Now, as his maid, she suffers abuse at the hands of Dr. Henry Hyde's alter ego, the infamous Mr. Jeckyl (John Malkovich). Dr. Hyde suffers from some unknown malady and has concocted a potion which turns him into the cruel sadist Mr. Jeckyl. Mary is attracted to Dr. Hyde and to Mr. Jeckyl who goes around town dismembering people and abusing children. He loves the sight of blood and gets a sexual thrill from cutting off someone's head. In the end, her love gets the better of his amorality.

This film has beautiful sets, incredible art direction and good acting. Regrettably, the script doesn't have a moral perspective. What made Spencer Tracy's version of this classic so powerful was the references to morality and God, and the fact that Tracy's indulgence in the sin nature of man stood in stark contrast to the good that is ordained by God. In MARY REILLY, in contrast, there is no good. Therefore, we have another example of modern cinematic horror which devoid of morality, becomes just grotesque.

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