Review: ‘The Hotel New Hampshire’

While it is decidedly not to all tastes, The Hotel New Hampshire is a fascinating, largely successful adaptation of John Irving's 1981 novel. Writer-director Tony Richardson has pulled off a remarkable stylistic tight-rope act, establishing a bizarre tone of morbid whimsicality at the outset and sustaining it throughout.

While it is decidedly not to all tastes, The Hotel New Hampshire is a fascinating, largely successful adaptation of John Irving’s 1981 novel. Writer-director Tony Richardson has pulled off a remarkable stylistic tight-rope act, establishing a bizarre tone of morbid whimsicality at the outset and sustaining it throughout.

Tale concerns an eccentric New England family that, spurred on by an ever-searching father, establishes a new hotel in locale after locale and mutates in the process.

Among the unusual family members is Jodie Foster, who must endure a punishing gang rape and a prolonged fascination with the young man who did it; her brother, Rob Lowe, an impossibly good-looking fellow who takes on most of the women in the cast; their ‘queer’ brother Paul McCrane; and their little sister Jennie Dundas.

Also virtually part of the family by association, if not by blood, are black jock Dorsey Wright; voluptuous hotel waitress Anita Morris; and Nastassja Kinski, a girl so insecure that she hides most of the time inside an enormous bear suit.

The Hotel New Hampshire

Production

Woodfall. Dir Tony Richardson; Producer Neil Hartley; Screenplay Tony Richardson; Camera David Watkin; Editor Robert K. Lambert; Music Jacques Offenbach, Raymond Leppard Art Dir Jocelyn Herbert

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1984. Running time: 110 MIN.

With

Jodie Foster Beau Bridges Rob Lowe Nastassja Kinski Wilford Brimley Dorsey Wright

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