Roxanne on Demand: The Talented Mr. Ripley

Reminder: when I say demand it’s mainly because it rhymes. No one has held me hostage to watch a film just yet. But my son Liam saw The Talented Mr. Ripley and was quite entertained. Since TTMR was a blind spot for me (and I loved the director Anthony Minghella’s other films, my favorite being The Reader, though I know the Oscars’ fave was The English Patient), I queued it up.

Part of the draw for Liam was its similarity and mention in some of the Saltburn’s discourse. First, let me say that Saltburn doesn’t hold a bloody candle (lit bathtub-Saltburn reference) to The Talented Mr. Ripley. The plot of TTMR is far FAR more nuanced and thoughtful than Saltburn. The only thing Saltburn has going for it in comparison is the kooky dark humor skewering the rich. But even saying that, TTMR stays true to its dramatic tone, and thus, still better.

What’s also beautiful about the 1999 film is in the heart (or heartLESSness as in Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jude Law’s meancing, bullying characters) of its actors. Even Gwyneth Paltrow, who I can’t take serious any longer -speaking of candles (a humor call back), impressed me in this film as the jilted lover. And she really was a solid actress back in the day, my favorite being Two Lovers with Joaquin Phoenix.

The story’s (originally by Patricia Highsmith) first third is a little too Great Gatsby-esque for me, but is reinvigorated by Philip Seymour Hoffman’s appearance. His every move is a scene stealer and proves once again what a formidable actor he was. And I enjoyed and believed Matt Damon’s unhinged character much much more than Barry Keoghan (and I was the guy’s champion for last year’s supporting actor in The Banshees of Inisherin).

In conclusion, so much more worth watching than Saltburn. Let’s try to bring back story to the movies.

By Goldie

Aspiring writer who has retired from the institution of education. I've written plays, three of which have been performed both in Rochester NY and here in Sarasota FL. I also write stand up and obviously, film critique. My comment section does not work, so please email me your comments at

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