Lolita: Film and Novel Comparison

5 May 2016

One of the greatest works of the 20th century, Lolita shocked and intrigued audience everywhere. This story is about the European intellectual Humbert Humbert, and his doomed relationship with the nymphet, “Lolita.”

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The book can stand alone as one of the most interesting on the AP Booklist. However, after watching the movie, Lolita’s story has a special place in my heart alongside many of my favorite, “love” stories. Jeremy Iron’s voice enthralled me and made me feel real compassion for the trials Humbert went through in the movie.

Dominique Swain’s Lolita was as beautiful and manipulative as perceived in the book, and her entire presence simply enchanted me. Her movements, voice, and overall looks were exactly as I though Lolita’s should be, and she mimicked her personality just right as well.

Though the 1997 version of the movie does stray at times from what occurred in the book, the movie made it up with great actors, music, setting, and overall charm.

Both the movie and the book first talk about Lolita, in the famous quote, “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.” However, in the beginning of the movie, he is not in jail but in his car, delirious after murdering Quincy.

He is bloody and holding a gun, and this foreshadowing, though used for something else, is used very often later in the movie and in the book as well. The story continues and describes his first love, Annabel. However, the movie does not delve into his life after Annabel and before Lolita.

This choice did not affect the overall movie and was most likely done to it entertaining for those who hadn’t read the book. Humbert meets Lolita, who is 14 instead of 12, in the piazza like he does in the book, and the story seems to run almost parallel for the rest of the movie.

There is one exception, however. Humbert’s scene in which he was masturbating was cut out, most likely because it was too graphic and was taking too much time. The scene was filmed, just not added to the final version of the movie released in theatres.

This movie was a cinematic experience that actually made me shed tears at the end, because the music and lighting and the desolation got to me in a way the book hadn’t. The book itself was a treasure, and the movie was the gold within. Reading this book and watching the movie alongside it was a very good way to complete my ISP points.

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