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The Portrait of a Lady

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Original title
The Portrait of a Lady
Running time
142 min.
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Laura Jones (Novel: Henry James)
Wojciech Kilar
Stuart Dryburgh
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Co-production United Kingdom-United States; Polygram Filmed Entertainment / Propaganda Films
Drama | Costume Drama. 19th Century
Movie Groups
Henry James Adaptations
Synopsis / Plot
Isabel Archer, an American heiress and free thinker travels to Europe to find herself. She tactfully rebuffs the advances of Caspar Goodwood, another American who has followed her to England. Her cousin, Ralph Touchett, wise but sickly becomes a soulmate of sorts for her. She makes an unfortunate alliance with the creepy Madame Merle who leads her to make an even more unfortunate alliance with Gilbert Osmond, a smooth but cold collector of Objets' de art who seduces her with an intense but unattainable sexuality. Isabel marries Osmond only to realize she's just another piece of art for his collection and that Madame Merle and Osmond are lovers who had hatched a diabolical scheme to take Isabel's fortune. Isabel's only comfort is the innocent daughter of Osmond, Pansy, but even that friendship is spoiled when Countess Gemini, Osmond's sister, reveals the child's true parentage. Isabel finally breaks free of Osmond and returns to Ralph's bedside, where, while breathing his last, they both realize how truly connected they are, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
1996: 2 Nominations for Oscar: Best Supp. Actress (Hershey), Costume Design
1996: Nominated for Golden Globe: Best Supporting Actress (Barbara Hershey)
1996: Satellite Awards: 3 Nominations including Best Adapted Screenplay
1996: New York Film Critics Circle: 3 Nominations including Best Actress (Kidman)
1996: Los Angeles Film Critics Association: Best Supp. Actress (Hershey) & Production Design
1996: Chicago Film Critics Awards: Nominated for Best Supporting Actress (Hershey)
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