Review: Mary Reilly
Blu-ray & DVD: Mary Reilly (1996)
Perhaps I should mention that Julia Roberts who plays Mary Reilly was nominated for Worst Actress by the Razzie Awards, and Stephen Frears was nominated for Worst Director…both lost.
However, that should tell you the reader that Roberts performance in Mary Reilly is nothing short of magnificently awful.
Reilly comes from Ireland to work as a maid for Dr Henry Jekyll. Yes, THAT Dr Jekyll. She and Jekyll develop a rapport and Jekyll begins to call on her for assistance in his experiments. He seems fascinated by scars Mary bears on her hand and neck, which she reluctantly allows him to examine, explaining they are from a childhood incident where her abusive father locked her in a cupboard with a live rat. Nice.
His staff begin to notice the Doctor throwing himself into his work at odd hours, culminating in his announcement that he has hired an assistant, Edward Hyde, who is to be given full run of the household. Da da DAAAAAA.
Mary spies on Jekyll and is equally fascinated and repulsed by him. On an errand to deliver a letter from Jekyll to the local brothels madam, Mary learns that Mr. Hyde has done ‘something’ and when the brother arrives at Jekyll\’s house and insists on seeing him, she demands more money for her continued silence…he murders her, then sees Hyde disposing of the victims severed head.
On and on it goes, but your attention is held by Julia, whose terrible \’Oirish\’ accent and little birdlike fluttering’s make you want to scream at the TV. While John Malkovich plays…. John Malkovich.
Hyde tries to shag Mary a few times, and a good romp would have livened the story up a bit, but nope, Julia twitters and squeaks in Oirish.
Finding out Hyde is Jekyll and vice versa, Mary packs to leave, but on her way out, she decides to visit the lab (duh). There Hyde attacks her and holds a knife to her throat, but he cannot bring himself to kill or rape her. He then injects himself with the antidote, and she is forced to witness the horrific transformation of one man into the other.
Jekyll reveals that Hyde has mixed a poison with the antidote, and then dies in Mary\’s arms. In the morning, Jekyll, although dead, has transformed into Hyde one last time, awake and smiling, as Mary walks into the fog.
This is one of those films where I want to literally write Blah blah BLAH. Mainly because Roberts is SO miscast. You can sort of tell it was originally a Tim Burton project because it does have that colourful gothic Burton glow to it, but nothing can save it.
A must watch if only as part of the ‘so bad it’s good’ cannon we so love at 60MW.
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