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Mary Reilly Movie Review
There are times when new approaches to old material is a bad thing. Sometimes, it's even disastrous. In the case of Mary Reilly, the different approach to the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde worked marvelously. the film wasn't over the top in any way, but I do feel it has been highly underrated and should get a rerelease so people who know nothing about it can enjoy it as well as those who have forgotten it and could use a revisiting.
The film establishes that Mary works for Dr. Jekyll and she witnesses both personalities of Jekyll and Hyde. Jekyll is a withdrawn but kind man. Hyde is an angry menace. This is one of the reasons that I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Hyde was depicted as a man. He was a vicious man, but a man nonetheless. Most modern takes on the story portray Hyde as a large, mindless brute, almost like an evil Hulk. But in Mary Reilly, Jekyll and Hyde are presented as two opposite personalities of the same person.
The acting is spectacular. John Malkovich never ceases to impress me and continues to show just how versatile he is. He can be good, he can be bad, he can be one extreme or the other, and he can be both Jekyll and Hyde. Julia Roberts performs well, but her accenting is all over the place. Is she English? Is she Scottish? Is she an American? She does give it her best shot and I appreciate that. She is quite convincing with her words and looks, which make up for the voice. I also have to give a nod to Michael Gambon who was rather creepy. If you know him best as Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series, then you will be beyond surprised to see him in a completely different tone of role.
In conclusion, you shouldn't miss this film. It's a near-perfect drama that is impressive in every way. It's a shame that this flew beneath the limelight and was never appreciated for what it was: a masterpiece.
© 2016 Alec Zander