1995 / Director. Taylor Hackford.
Like so many of Stephen King's books I assume that Delores Claiborne was a tricky one to adapt. The novel's narrative is unique in that King wrote it in a style unlike any of his other works. He ignored a traditional format in favour of a first person narrative without any chapters or even paragraphs. Delores told her story on the record, and we read it as though sitting beside her. Naturally a film adaptation must have been challenging. Taylor Hackford nailed it. He understood the material and got his casting right. Delores Claiborne is charged with the murder of her elderly employer and her estranged daughter arrives to help her during the investigation. Dark, sinister secrets are exposed and family tragedies begin to unravel. The material is heavy and at times heartbreaking and to Hackford's credit, he has captured the essence of the book brilliantly. Certain things have been changed and/or omitted for the sake of a fluent on-screen narrative but fans of the novel will likely attest to Delores Claiborne being one of the best King adaptations to date. One of the most appealing aspects to the movie is its atmosphere. Hackford affectively used green screen for some of the more foreboding moments, which occurring during a solar eclipse. This lends the story a surreal, fantastical element that helps drive the drama. I'm a sucker for this type of style (Polakski did is beautifully in Death and the Maiden). Kathy Bates is superb and it's as though King wrote the character with her in mind. David Strathairn is also excellent in a gutsy and challenging performance. King is an incredible and prolific writer and when filmmakers get his stories right, it's a wonderful thing. Delores Claiborne, in my opinion, ranks very highly.