Dark secrets, family torments and two murders swirl around the stoic, hardened figure of Dolores Claiborne (Kathy Bates), a housekeeper accused of murdering her employer of 22 years. Then there was that timely accident that took Dolores's husband (David Strathairn) during the solar eclipse of 1975. Yet with all the sombre suffering that follows Dolores like a miasma of pain, none of it compares with the heartache of a relationship she has with her grown daughter (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Although this flick is rife with horror, it is not of the supernatural kind, but... rather of the torment only real people can impose on one another. The script is full of colourful language, and director Taylor Hackford successfully weaves several plot threads and psychological dilemmas throughout this engrossing tale without diminishing any of them. He not only culls intense performances from his cast, but he also brings to life the landscape around them. When Dolores Claiborne's best-kept secret is finally given up, it occurs under the surreal backdrop of a solar eclipse that is a truly sensational bit of cinematography. --Rochelle O'Gorman [show more]
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Dolores Claiborne (Kathy Bates) was accused of killing her abusive husband twenty years ago, but the court's findings were inconclusive and she was allowed to walk free. Now she has been accused of killing her employer, Vera Donovan (Judy Parfitt), and this time there is a witness who can place her at the scene of the crime. Things look bad for Dolores, the memory of the first murder seemingly confirming her guilt in the second. But when her daughter Selena (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a successful Manhattan magazine writer, returns to cover the story, the truth about the family's past gradually comes to light.