Letter [1940]

In yet another example of Demi Moore's astonishing narcissism, this appalling adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Great American Novel becomes a teary, talk-show-worthy story of a woman rediscovering the erotic, of interrupted love, of a brave-but-beleaguered heroine's personal struggle against male stupidity. Never mind that this has little to do with Hawthorne's magnificent, protofeminist book, which is a million times more relevant today than this film could ever be. Director Roland Joffé (The Killing Fields) deserves to be horsewhipped for colluding with Moore's self-fascination, while Gary Oldman should be kicked in the pants for allowing the novel's main character to come off as an inconsequential ninny. Making matters worse, Robert Duvall can be seen ridiculously dancing with a deerskin on his head. If this film were a joke, it would be a very bad joke. But it's not, and that's worse. --Tom Keogh

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