By Owen Gleiberman
Updated April 07, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT

DOLORES CLAIBORNE(R) Based on Stephen King’s 1992 novel, this solemnly ludicrous ”psychological” thriller is like one of Hollywood’s old-hag gothics turned into a therapeutic grouse-a-thon — it’s Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte for the Age of Oprah. Pudgy and sullen, her hair a miserable mop of dishevelment, Kathy Bates is in full irritable cry as Dolores Claiborne, a middle-aged widow who has been an outcast in her lonely Maine village ever since her husband was killed and she was suspected of doing the deed. When she comes under suspicion for murder yet again, her estranged daughter, a magazine journalist (Jennifer Jason Leigh), shows up and proceeds to unravel the mystery behind Dolores’ alleged crimes. The movie might have been entertaining camp had director Taylor Hackford staged it with pace, style, or a whisper of surprise. Instead, the plot just clunks forward — for two hours and 10 minutes. We have more than enough time to notice all the whiny bad acting. D+

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Dolores Claiborne

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