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Film Review: “To Die For” (1995)


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Film review: “To Die For” (1995)

Director: Gus Van Sant

Writers: Joyce Maynard (book), Buck Henry (screenplay)

Composer: Danny Elfman

Produccer: Laura Ziskin

Cast: Nicole Kidman, Matt Dillon, Illeana Douglas, Cassey Affleck, Joaquin Phoenix, Dan Hedaya, Alison Folland, Kurtwood Smith

 “She`s a four letter word and it starts with a C—Cold.”

She has a loving and handsome husband who wouldn’t mind dying for her. He admires and supports her in every way possible, but the only thing he does not love, was TV. Susanne Stone lives and dreams to be in the spotlight. In her thought she sees herself as the next Barbara Walters. And she is willing to do anything to get what she wants… absolutely anything.

‘To Die For”, directed by Gus Van Sant, is one of those movies we all must see, at least once. There are multiple reasons behind this: Nicole Kidman`s mesmerizing acting as Suzanne Stone Maretto; Matt Dillon`s excellent performance as Larry Marreto, a husband of a fame-hungry Suzanne Stone;  Joaquin Phoenix was absolutely unrivalled as a 15 years old lover of Suzanne who was willing to kill her husband just to be with her; Illeana Douglas was absolutely stunning as a sister of Larry Maretto, who really never trusted Suzanne.

There are many other aspects that bring this movie right up to pedestal, and Gus  Van Sant (director), Buck Henry (screenplay) and Danny Elfman (composer) are some of them. Danny Elman was able to compose a song that characterized the nature of Suzanne Stone as evil, a woman who would get what she wants at all costs.  Smart and wickedly funny dialogues by Buck Henry make “To Die For” worthy to watch more than once.

“To Die For” is a crime comedy-drama made in a mockumentary format, and based on the novel of the same name by Joyce Maynard – the true story of Pamela Smart who is serving a life sentence in a New Hampshire prison for killing her 24 year old husband Gregory Smart.

Larry Stone (played by Matt Dillon) is a family-oriented man who wants to begin a real family. When he tells Suzanne about it, being as coldhearted and calculated that she is, Suzanne decides right away to get rid of her husband by using high school kids she was doing a documentary movie with. She did not like that Larry sees her future from a different perspective, which she could not even accept.

The entire cast of the movie is wonderfully wicked, and Nicole Kidman as a calculated, fame-hungry, and fiercely ambitious Suzanne Stone is superb. The supporting cast is also excellent – every single actor brings something fresh and witty to the screen, making the story way more enjoyable, unforgettable and memorable.

Susanne Maretto says:  “You`re not anybody in America unless you`re on TV. On TV is where we learn about who we really are. Because what`s the point of doing anything worthwhile if nobody`s watching? And if people are watching, it makes you a better person.” – Well, I don`t know about you but I’d prefer to be who I am and not on TV, than being on TV and be like Suzanne Maretto.  We are not her, and we will never be. Am I not right?

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About Ulkar Alakbarova (1073 Articles)
My name is Ulkar Alakbarova. A wonderful name, is it not? I come from the exotic land of Azerbaijan but now I live in the hub of Hollywood North – Toronto, Canada. How lucky I am to be able to enjoy and indulge in my favourite avocation of watching movies. Movies of every genre are screened here in Toronto. There are black and white classics, avant garde, independently produced, and of course, newly released movies for all to enjoy. Let me share this treasure of entertainment with you. Read my thoughts and opinions then let me know if you agree.

2 Comments on Film Review: “To Die For” (1995)

  1. Good review. Kidman was amazing in this role. Just went to show everybody that she was more than just “Tom Cruise’s main-squeeze”. She could actually act and be funny.

  2. That`s true. But my favorite one is “Practical Magic. and “The Hours”. Have you seen “Dogville”? That movie was something. Moulin Rouge was great too. And thanks for your comments 🙂

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