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Henry & June (Widescreen)

Fred Ward , Uma Thurman , Philip Kaufman    NC-17   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 12.95
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Anaïs Nin (Maria de Medeiros) is a young woman in 1930s Paris whose husband is slowly defecting from art to working in a bank, leaving her very bored. When the then-unpublished Brooklyn writer Henry Miller (Fred Ward) enters her life, she embarks on a journey of seduction and sexual exploration that eventually leads from the writer to his wife, June (Uma Thurman), who finances her husband's life in Paris so he may praise her beauty in his writing. Unhappy with her husband's writing and her lovers' affair, June enters a jealous rage, forcing Henry into suffering-artist mode and Nin back to her husband. Despite having one of the more erotic scenes of the 1990s, between Nin and June, the film does not live up to its subject, largely due to a mediocre screenplay and flawed direction. The strength of the original material and Medeiros's decidedly unflawed performance, however, make it worth viewing. --James McGrath

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A journey of self-discovery and fulfillment July 23 2003
Though HENRY AND JUNE is primarily thought of as an erotic tale, I view it as the journey of self-discovery, and quest for fulfillment, of the four main characters: Anais Nin and her husband Hugo Guiler; Henry Miller and his wife June. Since the setting of this journey is 1930s Paris it is only logical that it would occur within an erotic context, but I advise the viewer to look beyond the steamy scenes and to search out the underlying themes.
After a few viewings of this movie, and readings of Anais Nin's diaries upon which this movie is based, what comes clear to me is that the characters are two halves of a whole person:
1) Anais Nin, the bored housewife who dreams of erotic adventure but feels trapped by, and is financially dependent upon, her husband; June Miller, the worldly woman who shifts between New York and Paris, has affairs with women, and occasionally works as a prostitute to support her husband.
2) Hugo Guiler (husband of Anais Nin), the workaholic banker who eventually comes to be financially responsible for all four protagonists; Henry Miller, the unemployed writer who has abdicated all conventional responsibilities and who is dependent upon the charity of his friends in order to survive.
It's a highly unconventional story to say the least, but that's exactly what makes it so interesting. Watch it with an open mind and you will see that there is more to the story than just sex. You will see four people on a quest for fulfillment and self-discovery, doing so in the context of sexually liberated 1930s Paris.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
This 1990 film, directed by Philip Kaufman, is set in Paris in 1931. This was a time and place between the two world wars that attracted writers and artists to a bohemian lifestyle, a time of discarding old conventions and embracing experimentation. Here, Henry Miller, an American expatriate wrote his wildly erotic books, which were banned in the United States. And Anais Nin, known for her extensive diaries about her sensory experiences, began her literary career here. It's no wonder that the two of them would meet and couple. They were both married at the time and this film is about the complex relationships between Henry, Anais, and their respective mates, all searching of a kind of liberation which was endemic at the time.
Fred Ward plays Henry as a crass American with a Brooklyn accent that makes native New Yorkers, such as myself, cringe. He's all man though and it's easy to see why Anais Nin, played by the large-eyed petite Portuguese actress Maria de Medereiros, is attracted to him. Her own husband, Richard E. Grant, is attractive as well, and it's clear that they have a good romantic life together, but he's willing to look the other way at his wife's desire for others. When Miller's wife, June, played by Uma Thurman, a fiery androgynous mother-earth figure, comes on the scene, Anais Nin finds herself attracted to her as well. This sets the scene for some interesting complexities.
The video is two hours and 16 minutes long and I expected to watch only half of it one evening and the rest of it the next night. However, from the moment it started I was completely captured by the story and just had to watch it all the way through.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Henry in Love w/ June, Anais, Paris, Henry..... March 31 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Well the problem with this film is the source material and subject matter, Henry Miller is more a self celebrating clown than a great writer. Anais was perhaps the better writer and is still known for her literate blend of psychological nuance & erotica but the Henry/Anais/June love triangle has been a bit over celebrated, also you just can't help comparing this effort with Kaufmanns finer previous one. In his last movie Philip Kaufman chose a Milan Kundera novel, Kundera's a much better writer and Unbearable Lightness of Being is full of weightier themes. Henry and June, and Anais seem like trifling bohemes next to that magnificent trio of Franz, Sabina and Tereza. Still Kaufman proves he is adept at recreating interesting historical context whether it be 1960's Prague or 1930's Paris. Both films are favorites of mine but they are in such different categories. Unbearable Lightness of Being is in the classic category, and Henry and June is not. Maybe what is a little confusing about Henry and June is that we are asked to accept that this love triangle is important because it was the psychological substratum that shaped Henry the writer, but its only important if you accept the assumption(apparently held by Kaufman) that Henry's writing is important. A lot of people like Henry, I've read half a dozen of his books and enjoyed them but he's kind of the writing equivalent of a snake oil salesman. He's a bit of a con artist. And what he's selling is Henry Miller, each book is a new version of himself, no one has ever written so many words about themself, only Anais comes close in her diaries. If they had both become great writers or even significant ones the movie would make more sense. As it is the film excuses a lot of selfish action and self-centeredness and all in the cause of mediocre art. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars As interesting as reading Henry Miller.
For all its notoriously explicit subject matter - the story of an affair between two famous writers on sexuality, Anais Nin and Henry Miller, the film features many heterosexual... Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2002 by darragh o'donoghue
5.0 out of 5 stars unforgettable
i first saw this film when i was sixteen on video as i couldn't see this in the theatres due to the nc-17 rating ofcourse. Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2002 by Brian R Yandle
5.0 out of 5 stars Hot! Hot! Hot!!!
Perfect! Having read all of Anais Nin's diaries, I was prepared to be mildly disappointed in this movie, as I usually am with most books-made-into-movies. Read more
Published on Oct. 25 2001 by Marion
3.0 out of 5 stars A good primer for reading Henry Miller's books
This movie is a good primer for reading Henry Miller's books... in 1991 I watched this movie and was drawn in by the charisma of Henry Miller's charcter played brilliantly by Fred... Read more
Published on Sept. 8 2001 by Paris1929
5.0 out of 5 stars Life as art
I love this film, but don't watch it if you are not prepared to question the status quo, what is true morality, if not the morality that is dictated to us by society? Read more
Published on July 12 2001 by Angelyn Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars Literate Passion
One of the most underrated movies of the 90s. (It also marks a disappointing moment when the studio _could_ have backed up an NC-17 film not porn but meant for _real_... Read more
Published on April 12 2001 by Moira D. Russell
4.0 out of 5 stars Hauntingly Beautiful
An exquisite look at the lives of two literary geniuses. Their work and their love for each other was one. Read more
Published on Feb. 13 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars Hauntingly Beautiful
An exquisite look at the lives of two literary geniuses. Their work and their love for each other was one. Read more
Published on Feb. 13 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly sensual, erotic without being excessively explici
This film deals with Anais Nin and her exploration of sexuality while living in France around 1930. We are much too jaded. Read more
Published on Nov. 1 2000 by Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful erotic film..
When I was in my mid-thirties, I read every book Anais Nin and Collette wrote and enjoyed them immensely. Read more
Published on June 12 2000 by Dianne Foster
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