A teenage orphan spends ten years traveling cross-country experiencing life, love and heartbreak. Based on E.L. Doctorow’s story, “Jolene: A Life.”
Jolene is one of those movies that is a little hard to describe. It’s written by E. L Doctorow who is a terrific writer. He wrote Ragtime among other things but he did not write the screenplay for this and maybe that’s part of the issue. Jolene is a young woman that we meet at a wedding when she is 15-years-old, married to, clearly, a not too bright kid who has a very sexy uncle who’s Dermot Mulroney, hello! And what we follow is a series of Jolene marrying or – fooling around , having sex with completely inappropriate men. She marries four of them and in several of the situations she says, “but, you don’t know me”, and what she really should be saying is, “I don’t know you”. Her passivity gets to be so irritating that you lose all empathy with her whatsoever, that even though she goes through great hardships you sort of feel as if she brought them on herself, and that’s hard for me to say as a woman that another woman has brought something on herself. But she clearly is so narcissistic and so hungry for love that she doesn’t ask the relevant questions like: who are you and who am I and what do I want. So bottom line her passivity just begins to drive you crazy. Apparently, she’s a very good actor. She has sort of an appealing face, but this is not an appealing movie. One star.