Henry And June

Henry And June



Henry And June is a story of French author Anais Nin and her relationship to Henry Miller and his wife, June



Henry And June


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When the MPAA first created the Motion Picture Ratings Code they provided a rating ‘X’ for movies dealing with adult themes, such as Midnight Cowboy.

Soon, however, the rating was compromised and taken over by pornographic films. The debate raged for some time about a replacement rating to stand for movies of artistic merit that, while adult in nature, were not pornography. The NC-17 rating was created. The first movie to receive this rating was Henry & June.

Henry And June is a story of French author Anais Nin and her relationship to Henry Miller and his wife, June. The story takes place in and around Paris in 1931. As a period piece the challenge is to convey the proper feeling for the time. Henry And June certainly delivers in this respect. Henry And June has the feel of a thirties European art film. The imagery and flow is so reminiscent of this genre students of film will immediately place the setting and time of the film. In fact, the director has worked in scenes from the old classics into the story of the film to help heighten the mood.

The story told is one of a strange love triangle between Anais and the Millers. She is in a stable relationship with her husband Hugo but longs for more out of life. When she first meets Henry Miller she sees in him a rough man from New York. A talent in literature working on his first book. A man that is not afraid of life but is intoxicated by it. Then June comes to Paris and Anais is drawn to her. At the start she marvels at the strength of the woman but soon finds herself in love with her. June is openly bisexual and that in it self is a dangerous temptation for Anais. Henry and June is a story of obsession, passion and the struggle for the love of life and art.

The casting is perfect for Henry And June. Fred Ward plays Miller with a New York flair that is defiant and bold. He takes life by the tale and yet Anais catches him crying during a love scene in the cinema. Ward brings a fullness and complexity to Miller that captures the viewer. European actress Maria de Medeiros plays Anais to perfection. She is a frail slip of a woman with great strength and direction lying just beneath the surface. June is played by Uma Thurman. Her physical height and stature reflects the inner fortitude that was actually possessed by June Miller. Each scene brings out another side of the characters and showcases the incredible talent of this cast. The Brooklyn accents of Ward and Thurman are very real, and this is from someone that has lived in Brooklyn most of his life. The accents are in sharp contrast with the European accents of the rest of the cast. It gives Henry and June a rough, out of place feel. Music is used as an under current, never overwhelming as is the case in so many modern movies. Each frame seems crafted by an artist.

The direction by Philip Kaufman, also known for his 'The Right Stuff' and 'Rising Sun', creates a masterpiece. Each scene is perfectly framed. The use of lighting, contrasting shadow and light, perfectly reflects the mood of the characters, living one life in the light while the darker life lurks just below the surface. He is extremely successful in capturing the feel and look of a period art film which only adds to the intrigue the film creates.

The Henry And June DVD itself may be overlooked if you consider only the details on the box. The aspect ratio is 1:1.66 and the sound is Dolby 2.0. Yet, it seems right considering the art film feel the movie conveys. The added features are rather minimal, I would have greatly enjoyed a commentary track by Kaufman. Still, Henry And June is a milestone film deserving a place in any well-rounded film library.

Movie Review of Henry And June by Doug MacLean of hometheaterinfo.com

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