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Author E.L. Doctorow's acclaimed short story Jolene: A Life gets the big screen treatment in Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont's director Dan Ireland's independent drama about life on the road. Jolene (Jessica Chastain) is a red-haired wanderer who isn't content to call one place home for any expended stretch of time. Setting off to explore the outside world at age fifteen, the free-spirited teen embarks on a decade-long cross-country of adventure which finds her crossing the paths of everyone from a firebrand Texan (Dermont Mulroney) who steals her heart and destroys her marriage… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 50%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"More epic than it needs to be and less profound than it should be, "Jolene" remains a watchable excursion into human frailty and foibles."
‑ Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times
"Ms. Chastain digs deep. Surrendering to her character's smoky voice-over and disastrous judgment, the actress finds pockets of soul in a role that's part Jessica Rabbit, part Marilyn Monroe."
‑ Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times
"Cruelly, the display of sorrow never takes command, with most of the film an unsatisfactory soap opera that never seizes an illuminating essence."
‑ Brian Orndorf,
"Vapid, convoluted, tedious and too episodic despite Jessica Chastain's charismatic performance as the seductive, wounded, insecure and lonely Jolene."
‑ Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru
"Downplaying Doctorow's condescending literary and class ironies, Ireland creates something more like a queer-inflected Candide."
‑ Armond White, New York Press
"Chastain proves near-heroic embodying Jolene's innate strength and incremental wisdom. Yet she also makes us understand how the heroine's wobbly resistance to manipulative characters is overwhelmed time and again."
‑ Tom Keogh, Seattle Times
"The movie has been through as many hurdles getting here as dear, sweet Jolene, but sometimes the most engaging movies are the ones worth waiting for."
‑ Rex Reed, New York Observer
"Chastain has long red hair, wide eyes, and an even wider smile. She is Jolene, of course, and she is appealing."
‑ Marcy Dermansky,
"Jolene's main themes, including the manipulation of youth, the fragility of love, and the suppression of individuality, try to carry the wonky dialogue into complex territory."
‑ Glenn Heath Jr., Slant Magazine
"A road movie that charts the adventures of an orphan teenager as she experiments with sexuality, marriage, and adultery."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
"So bad it's almost (but not quite) good, Dan Ireland's Jolene is an unusually elaborate and excruciatingly long vanity production..."
‑ Lou Lumenick, New York Post
"One minute a guy's making Jolene patently false promises, the next she's getting sodomized on her wedding night."
‑ Andrew Schenker, Time Out New York
"Based on an E.L. Doctorow short story, Jolene is an apt example of how stories about women who are in abusive relationships can be turned into sexual exploitation."
‑ Maria Garcia, Film Journal International
"Chastain, an incandescent redhead with a heart-shaped face and round, shining eyes, does more justice to the part than it deserves."
‑ Michelle Orange, Movieline
"A picaresque tale of a young woman's sad passage through abuse marriages that retains the sardonic wit of the original story by E.L. Doctorow."
‑ Louis Proyect,
More reviews for Jolene on Rotten Tomatoes