Quick-Thoughts: Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita (1962)

The Woody Allen biopic lol.

I can’t help but connect Professor Humbert’s character to Travis Bickle’s character in Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, and the whole Madonna-whore complex arc that he goes through. They both idolize females (of all ages…) by oppressing them; they can’t detach selfishness with selflessness. They’ve confused their desires and insecurities with morality, creating objective contradictions. The world around that prevents them from reaching their dreams isn’t what’s wrong, it’s very much they who are wrong, but they’re just too self-important to face up to that.

Kubrick’s movie is dark comedy gold; depressing in a funny way too, where everybody besides Lolita is just a pathetic cuck who feeds their false happiness off of those who don’t truly love them. The performances here are almost perfect, with James Mason and Shelley Winters admitting desperation in its extremist form and Sue Lyon delivering one of the best child performances I’ve ever seen; Peter Sellers in a Kubrick movie is just instant magic, as well; what an opening! They do fine jobs cynically embodying these people who’re so selfishly stuck up in their own fantasies, fooling themselves into a reality they can’t have; the lengths they go or think they can achieve in this are hilariously f**ked up on so many levels from their ridiculous justifications of lust-driven ambitions to the absurd schemes used to assert ownership for Lolita, but it’s all ingeniously provocative in its esteemed nature to expose the greed that comes with a one-sided “love” affair. 

Verdict: B+

Stanley Kubrick Ranked

“Lolita” is now available to stream on The Criterion Channel.

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