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"How did they make a movie out of Lolita?" teased the print ads of this Stanley Kubrick production. The answer: by adding three years to the title character's age. The original Vladimir Nabokov novel caused no end of scandal by detailing the romance between a middle-aged intellectual and a 12-year-old nymphet. The affair is "cleansed" ever so slightly in the film by making Lolita a 15-year-old (portrayed by 16-year-old Sue Lyon). In adapting his novel to film, Nabokov downplayed the wicked satire and sensuality of the material, concentrating instead on the story's… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Where Nabokov was witty, Kubrick is sometimes merely snide, but fine performances (particularly from Peter Sellers, as the ominous Clare Quilty) cover most of the rough spots."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"As a Kubrick film... virtually everything it does well was done better in his filmography."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"While Kubrick may have likened himself to an ad-libbing thief of arts in 1962, his current persona seems the epitome of [Humbert] Humbert."
‑ Rob Nelson, City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul
"A fascinating if problematic early film from Stanley Kubrick, perhaps the most obsessive of the great auteurs of the 1960s."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Considering censorship issues in 1962 and the fact that Peter Sellers is miscast, Kubrick's version does justice to Nabokov's provocative novel, benefiting immensely from James Mason's towering performance in the lead."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Far more satisfying than his later works (one hesitates to call them mere movies)."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
""How did they ever make a movie of Lolita?" With great difficulty!"
‑ Simon Miraudo, Quickflix
"Far too subtle in its sexual intentions to reach what the novel was after."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Kubrick keeps the elegant black-and-white film big and luxurious and barren and sustains the cold humor."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Classic Kubrick treatment of controversial best seller."
‑ Steve Crum,
"The picture has a rare power, a garbled but often moving push toward an off-beat communication."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"Classic love story not for kids."
‑ David Gurney, Common Sense Media
"Lolita, with its acute mix of pathos and comedy, and Mason's mellifluous delivery of Nabokov's sparkling lines, remains the definitive depiction of tragic transgression."
‑ Jon Fortgang, Film4
"A wonderful evocation of the book's humorous aspects, but -- censors be darned -- very little of its passion and sexuality."
‑ Dan Fienberg,
"Mason and Sellers (as Quilty) are standouts, but the film is too long by half, with much of the novel's sly eroticism excised."
‑ Thomas Delapa, Boulder Weekly
More reviews for Lolita on Rotten Tomatoes

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