Carole Angier

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Wide Sargasso Sea Review


Weak
In the same year as the masterful The Piano, Wide Sargasso Sea planted a foreign woman in a lush tropical setting and cut her loose to roll in the hay with the natives. The sexy similarities are uncanny, but Sargasso is about as uninteresting as romantic drama can get.

Starlet Karina Lombard was one of those shot-in-the-dark/outta-nowhere actresses (today's example: Kill Bill's Chiaki Kuriyama) who made a splash in a tiny role (she was the island girl who seduced Tom Cruise in The Firm) and subsequently bit off more than she could chew in a lead role. But since Lombard has no discernable acting ability, it's almost painful to watch her try to pull off this romance. Playing a Jamaican landowner in the 1840s, she marries an import Englishman named Rochester (Nathaniel Parker) in order to maintain her status. Too bad her family's a wreck, with a crazy mother locked up in the house. Nevertheless, there's plenty of time for lots of sex -- which originally earned Sargasso an R but got it re-rated as an NC-17 for it's minutely more graphic home video release (which is one minute longer than the R version).

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