WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE

STEPHEN KING TAKES A STAB AT FEMINISM IN DOLORES CLAIBORNE, AND KATHY BATES RESPONDS WITH A FINE, FIERCE PERFORMANCE

AT NO POINT IN DOLORES CLAIBORNE is its eponymous protagonist tied to a railroad track or strapped down in the path of a rapidly impending train or buzz saw. And a good thing too, for this adaptation of Stephen King's best seller (does he write anything else?) also lacks a hero, or indeed any remotely admirable masculine figure, eager to race to her rescue.

These omissions are not careless. King is a storyteller who boldly uses the most primitive and melodramatic forms to explore very basic emotional issues, and this is his fantasia on feminist themes. Dolores (Kathy Bates) in some...

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