Mary Reilly 1996 REVIEW

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Mary Reilly 1996 is a fresh twist on The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, told through the eyes of a poor housemaid who works for the good doctor.

Mary Reilly 1996 REVIEW 1
John Malkovich and Julia Roberts in Mary Reilly 1996.

TITLE: Mary Reilly
DIRECTOR: Stephen Frears
CAST: Julia Roberts, John Malkovich, Glenn Close and George Cole

Review of Mary Reilly 1996

Mary Reilly is a 1996 film directed by Stephen Frears and based on the novel by Valerie Martin. The film stars Julia Roberts as Mary Reilly, a housemaid who becomes intrigued by her employer, Dr Jekyll (John Malkovich), and his mysterious relationship with Mr Hyde (also played by Malkovich).

The plot of the film revolves around Mary’s growing fascination with Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and her attempts to uncover the truth about their relationship. As Mary becomes more entangled in their lives, she begins to realise that the two men are not as different as they appear, and that their shared secrets are darker than she could have ever imagined.

The cast of Mary Reilly 1996 also includes Glenn Close as Dr Jekyll’s housekeeper, Mr Farraday, and Michael Gambon as Mary’s abusive father.

Julia Roberts and John Malkovich star in Mary Reilly 1996.
Julia Roberts and John Malkovich star in Mary Reilly 1996.

The production of “Mary Reilly” was troubled from the beginning, with multiple rewrites and reshoots. The film was also released during a particularly competitive time at the box office, which may have contributed to its poor reception. Critics were generally unimpressed with the film, and it was a commercial flop.

Compared to other adaptations of the Jekyll and Hyde story, “Mary Reilly” is a much quieter and more introspective film. It focuses less on the horror elements of the story and more on the psychological dynamics between the characters. Some critics have praised the film for its unique approach, while others have criticized it for being slow and overly ponderous.

Overall, “Mary Reilly” is a flawed but interesting film that is worth watching for fans of the Jekyll and Hyde story, or for those interested in character-driven dramas. While it may not be as successful as other adaptations of the story, it is a worthwhile addition to the canon.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Mary Reilly 1996

  1. Tim Burton, who was known for his quirky and dark style, was originally attached to direct the film. However, after receiving the script for Ed Wood, he decided to direct that instead. Ed Wood went on to become a critical success and won two Oscars.
  2. The distinction between the rings worn by Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde symbolises the difference between the two characters. Dr Jekyll, who represents the good side, wears a gold ring, which is associated with wealth and purity. Meanwhile, Mr Hyde, who represents the evil side, wears a silver ring, which is associated with coldness and sterility.
  3. To achieve a more authentic Victorian feel, the filmmakers borrowed many props from museums and galleries. This includes everything from furniture to medical equipment. This attention to detail helped to create a more immersive experience for the viewers.
  4. The film initially had an ending that closely followed the book, where Dr Jekyll dies and Mary lies beside him. However, the ending went through multiple rewrites, and the producers called back the stars to shoot three alternative endings several months after production had wrapped. Glenn Close, who had already left London, was flown back for one day of work to shoot one of the new endings.
  5. To further add to the authenticity of the film, some of the indoor sets were sections of real houses preserved from the Victorian era. This helped to create a more realistic environment and allowed the actors to fully immerse themselves in their roles.
  6. Julia Roberts, who was one of the biggest movie stars at the time, had a jet on standby around the clock during filming in London. This added luxury cost over $120,000, which was considered excessive by some.
  7. Dangerous Liaisons was a critically acclaimed film that brought together many of the cast and crew of Mary Reilly. This includes director Stephen Frears, screenwriter Christopher Hampton, actors John Malkovich and Glenn Close, producer Norma Heyman, composer George Fenton, cinematographer Philippe Rousselot, production designer Stuart Craig, and casting director Juliet Taylor.
  8. John Malkovich, who naturally has blue eyes, wore coloured contact lenses to make his eyes appear brown for his role as Dr Jekyll. This was done to give the character a softer look in comparison to the wild dark-eyed look of Edward Hyde.
  9. In the film, Mrs Farraday comments to a patron that Mary isn’t even 18 years old, implying that the character is underage. However, in reality, Julia Roberts was almost 30 at the time she took on the role of Mary Reilly.
  10. Despite their on-screen chemistry, Julia Roberts and John Malkovich reportedly did not get along during filming. This tension was reportedly due to Malkovich’s method acting style, which caused him to stay in character even off-camera.

Tell us what you thought of Mary Reilly 1996 in the comment section below!

Watch Mary Reilly 1996 Trailer


  1. Julia Roberts adopts the weidest accent for Mary in this movie. It’s all over the British Isles, a little bit Welsh, a bit Irish, a bit Scots, not sure what she was trying to achieve


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