Critic Reviews



Based on 14 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
A fascinating if problematic early film from Stanley Kubrick, perhaps the most obsessive of the great auteurs of the 1960s, made just on the cusp of a run of cinematic masterpieces.
Nabokov’s satire is sensationally cast, with Winters and Sellers delivering some of their best work ever.
Chicago Tribune
Brilliant adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov's 20th Century comic-erotic classic. [08 Jul 2005, p.C2]
The New Yorker
Wild, marvelously enjoyable comedy, adapted from Nabokov's novel.
This is not the novel Lolita, but it is a provocative sort of film.
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.
Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov’s wicked, witty hymn to forbidden love loses some bite in the journey from novel to the screen, but it’s got its plummy pleasures, including a wonderfully subtle James Mason as Humbert Humbert, obsessed with the delicious Sue Lyon as the 14-year-old Lolita (bumped up from 12 in the book), and a marvelously blowzy Shelley Winters, hilarious as Lolita’s sexually voracious mom.
Time Out
Kubrick manages to handle the moral and psychological nuances with surprising lucidity, but the decision to indulge Peter Sellers' gift for mimickry in the role of Quilty tends to scupper the movie's tone. Fascinating, nevertheless.
Vladimir Nabokov's witty, grotesque novel is, in its film version, like a bee from which the stinger has been removed. It still buzzes with a sort of promising irreverence, but it lacks the power to shock and, eventually, makes very little point either as comedy or satire.
Village Voice
Kubrick goes through the motions with a hula hoop and the munching of potato chips, but there is nothing intuitive or abandoned about the man-nymphet relationship. The Director's heart is apparently elsewhere. [05 Jul 1962, p.11]

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