Lolita: Movie Analysis

Lolita is one of the most unconventional literary classics of the century. Lolita is a twelve-year-old girl, who is desired by the European intellectual Humbert Humbert. As the narrator of the story, Humbert chronicles his abnormal childhood, adolescent experiences, and an adventure in a booming American as a European tourist and pedophile. But it is key to realize his first heartbreak as a boy manifests into his desires for nymphets. This point is made clear in both the novel and movie. I will show that the movie Lolita, is a solid rendition of the novel of the same name.

Now some critics might see the novel as something more than I took it, like a contrast between the modernistic character of Humbert Humbert against the post-modern Americans that he encounters. Forget all that, I honestly thought the movie to be a convincing love story. On the surface level it was about an obsessive man and his love for nymphets, who met Lolita, the object of his desires. There were differences between the movie and the novel, yet I felt some scenes were left out of the movie that did not hurt the story at all. Also, some scenes were added which actually strengthened the story line in the movie.

I bet professional critics say the new version of Lolita did not measure up, well I loved it. Dominique Swain was awesome (a little hottie as well) and she perfectly played the character of Lolita. She may have even been more manipulative in the film version. An example of this was when Lolita was toying with Humbert as she rubbed her foot all over him in order to get a raise in her allowance and be able to be part of the play. You could not be much more sexual, manipulative girl than Lolita was! On minor change was that Lolita was twelve in the novel and fourteen in the movie. This was simply done to make the relationship a bit more accepting in the viewer’s eyes. I don’t believe it harshly affected the story at all.

In both works, Lolita was just a manipulative girl who had no idea what life was about. She was almost sucked into the porn business by a pathetic man who she worshipped as a Hollywood star. Plus, she handled Humbert perfectly in setting her escape to live with Quilty.	Humbert was also played brilliantly, yet I felt there was more longing in the novel Humbert, though we were still able to see his burning desire for nymphets and Lolita in general. It was intriguing to see how far he would go just to be with his love, and what was priceless was his reaction and facial expression as Lolita would play with his emotions. To me, Humbert was far more trashy a character in the novel, than he was in the movie. In the movie, he kept his distinguished professor demeanor, while in the movie I lost all respect for him.

Charlotte was yet another strongly played character, but really all we needed from her was to be an annoying and intrusive mother. Just like the novel we realized how much she disgusted Humbert. She was just an obstacle She was just an obstacle for Humbert to overcome in his quest for Lolita. It was better that I felt more of a jealousy from Charlotte toward Dolores in the movie, which added fire to the story. Quilty was really too much of a main character in the story. He just had to be the typical famous scumbag that tried to use Lolita as a toy. He was also as pathetic as in the movie as he was in the novel, and I was glad to see him get it in both. I believe he was introduced earlier in the move, in the scene where Lolita ran into him as she pet his dog. This was done to strengthen the story because we got to see and realize that Lolita was growing a desire for the Hollywood star.

The scenes that were removed from the novel had little effect on the feel of the story. For example, there is a long drawn out scene where Charlotte is returning from camp and Humbert is panicking in his decision to stay or leave as the car approaches. You didn’t need this because you knew he was going to stay and pursue his Lolita. So in the movie it was simply just Charlotte returning and the next thing you know they are married. That’s just cutting out the crap, and when you’re a director who want to make a good movie from a novel, you must realize what is crap and what is important subject matter.

Another deleted scene was when Humbert leaves the room after killing Quilty and all his guests are there. To be honest with you, this scene confused me in the novel and I’m glad it was left out. The scene made no sense, and the dialogue between the character was a waste of time. The movie ending was better, just him in his depressed and tormented emotional state as he drives down the road to absolutely nowhere. One last deleted scene was that of the stranger (Quilty) coming in to play tennis as Humbert was away. This scene was meant only to get Humbert nervous about losing Lolita, and without it in the movie we still realized he was overprotective of his treasure.

I want to discuss some more ways that I thought the movie was an improvement to the novel and also discuss some scenes that were added that strengthened the story. One of these was the scene where Lolita ran up the stairs to give Humbert a goodbye kiss before she went to camp. This scene was excellent because you began to see Lolita toying with poor Hum and that kiss could have killed in because he wanted so much more. The visual aspect of Lolita touching Humbert as the camera zoomed in on the them touching just added more to the entire story.

It gave you more of a sense of how that felt to Humbert as his desires for Lolita grew. Then we had the part with the swing outside as Charlotte and Humbert are sitting and he is making the swing glide past the door so he can see the dancing Lolita. This was funny because it made you see Humbert kind of trying to get away from Charlotte on the other end of the swing in order to catch a glimpse of his desire singing and dancing. Dolores’s retainer was a nice touch that added to the immaturity of Lolita. The retainer made us see her as nothing but a brace-faced retainer wearing kid. The scenes when she took it out to either kiss him or eat were quite funny.

Other imagery that was excellent was when the cigarette was still burning after Charlotte was hit and killed. This made me realize how fast the ordeal had happened. The smoke was not even gone, and poor Charlotte was dead. On the other hand, one funny scene was when Humbert was driving down the camp road and he was in ecstasy as the director kind of blurred the background to make it appear as kind of a nymphet land of his dreams as little girls run everywhere. One quick scene that made me laugh was when Humbert was in the hotel and he walked by a bunch of priests as they looked at him. It was ironic because I knew what he was about to do with Lolita that next morning. These are just some of the visual experiences that I thought strengthened the movie.

Like I said, there were many scenes added and deleted, yet I think this movie was a wonderful visual experience. I loved watching it and would without a doubt see it again. The director did a sweet job in turning the novel into an excellent movie. I’m sure you can tell I thought Lolita the movie was without a doubt in the spirit of Nabokov’s novel. I’m not sure he would like the changes but I did.