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The Talented Mr. Ripley is a 1999 film directed by Anthony Minghella. It is an adaptation of the 1955 novel by Patricia Highsmith, which was previously filmed as Plein Soleil (Purple Noon, 1960).

The Talented Mr. Ripley starred Matt Damon as Tom Ripley, Gwyneth Paltrow as Marge Sherwood, Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf, Cate Blanchett as Meredith Logue (a character created for the film), Philip Seymour Hoffman as Freddie Miles, Jack Davenport as Peter Smith-Kingsley (a character expanded for the film) and James Rebhorn as Herbert Greenleaf.

It was filmed mainly in Italymarker with landmarks in the cities of Romemarker and Venicemarker being used as a backdrop for the narrative. An opera scene features the duel between Lensky and Onegin from Eugene Onegin.


Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) is a young man struggling to make a living in New York Citymarker. While working at a party, playing the piano in a borrowed Princetonmarker jacket, he is approached by the wealthy Herbert Greenleaf, who believes Tom to be an actual graduate of the university and a friend of his son, Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law). Ripley is asked to travel to Italymarker to persuade Dickie to return to the United States to help run the family business. He agrees, even though he did not go to Princeton and has never even met Dickie.

Shortly after his arrival in Italy, Ripley meets Dickie and his girlfriend, Marge Sherwood (Gwyneth Paltrow), and quickly ingratiates himself into their lives. Dickie and Tom go on trips together, and on one of these trips they meet Dickie's friend Freddie Miles (Hoffman), who has an instant suspicion about Tom. When a girl with whom Dickie was having an affair kills herself, things begin to change. Dickie begins to tire of his new friend, resenting Ripley's constant presence and growing dependence, especially after he learns that Ripley has been lying about their days together at Princeton. Ripley's feelings are complicated by his desire to maintain the wealthy lifestyle Greenleaf has afforded him, and by his growing sexual obsession with his new friend.

As a gesture to Ripley, Greenleaf agrees to travel with him on a short holiday to Sanremomarker. The two hire a small boat and head out to sea. They begin arguing while on board, with Dickie rejecting and mocking Ripley. Ripley then mocks Dickie in return. Enraged, he threatens to hit Ripley in anger but backs down, and resorts to further describing his disgust with even being around Ripley. Ripley then loses his temper and swings an oar, hitting Dickie on the head. Dickie furiously attacks Ripley, attempting to choke him. The two struggle, and Ripley kills him in the ensuing struggle. Horrified, he lets the boat drift to shore while lying on the chest of Dickie's lifeless body. He then sinks the boat, with Dickie's body still on board, to conceal his crime before swimming to shore.

When the hotel concierge mistakes him for Dickie, Ripley realizes he can assume Dickie's identity. He takes on Dickie's signature and passport and begins living off his allowance. He carefully provides communications to Marge to make her believe that Dickie has deserted her. He even books into two separate hotels as himself and Greenleaf and passes messages between "them" via the hotel staff, thus providing the illusion that Dickie is still alive.

Later, Ripley rents an expensive apartment in Rome. He spends a lonely Christmas buying expensive presents for himself. Dickie's friend Freddie visits what he assumes to be Dickie's apartment. He is immediately suspicious of Ripley; the apartment is not furnished in what he considers to be Dickie's style and the landlady complains about the constant piano-playing, whereas Greenleaf does not play the piano. When Miles is about to confront Ripley about this, Ripley murders him as well.

Over the next few weeks, Ripley's existence becomes a "cat and mouse" game with the police and Greenleaf's friends. His predicament is complicated by Meredith Logue (Blanchett), a wealthy heiress he met when first arriving in Italy and to whom he introduced himself as Dickie Greenleaf—before Ripley had even met him. Ripley forges a suicide note in Greenleaf's name and moves to Venicemarker. In quick succession, Marge, Dickie's father and an American private detective confront Ripley. Marge in particular suspects Ripley of involvement in Dickie's death, whereupon Ripley prepares to murder her. He is interrupted when Marge's friend, Peter Smith-Kingsley, enters the apartment.

The private detective reveals that Mr. Greenleaf has decided to give Ripley a portion of Dickie's income with the understanding that certain sordid details about his son's past not be revealed to the Italian police—such as a vicious assault on a fellow student at Princeton or an affair with a girl he impregnated who subsequently committed suicide.

Ripley goes on a cruise with Smith-Kingsley, his new lover, only to discover that Meredith is also on board the cruise. Ripley realizes it will be impossible to keep Smith-Kingsley from discovering that he has been passing himself off as Dickie, since Peter and Meredith know each other and could eventually exchange words. He cannot solve this dilemma by murdering Logue, as she is traveling with a large family that would quickly notice her disappearance. The movie concludes the audio of a sobbing Ripley as he strangles Smith-Kingsley, playing over a scene of him sitting alone in his dark cabin.


Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film four out of four stars and wrote, "The movie is an intelligent a thriller [sic] as you'll see this year. It is also insidious in the way it leads us to identify with Tom Ripley ... He's a monster, but we want him to get away with it". In her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin praised Jude Law's performance: "A word about the film's Dickie Greenleaf: this is a star-making role for the preternaturally talented English actor Jude Law. Beyond being devastatingly good-looking, Mr. Law gives Dickie the manic, teasing powers of manipulation that make him ardently courted by every man or woman he knows". Entertainment Weekly magazine gave the film an "A-" rating and Lisa Schwarzbaum praised Matt Damon's performance: "Damon is at once an obvious choice for the part and a hard sell to audiences soothed by his amiable boyishness ... the facade works surprisingly well when Damon holds that gleaming smile just a few seconds too long, his Eagle Scout eyes fixed just a blink more than the calm gaze of any non-murdering young man. And in that opacity we see horror". Sight and Sound magazine's Charlotte O'Sullivan wrote, "A tense, troubling thriller, marred only by problems of pacing (the middle section drags) and some implausible characterisation (Meredith's obsession with Ripley never convinces), it's full of vivid, miserable life". Time named it one of the ten best films of the year and called it a "devious twist on the Patricia Highsmith crime novel about patrician indolence and underclass yearning".

In his review for The New York Observer, Andrew Sarris wrote, "On balance, The Talented Mr. Ripley is worth seeing more for its undeniably delightful journey than its final destination. Perhaps wall-to-wall amorality and triumphant evil leave too sour an aftertaste even for the most sophisticated anti-Hollywood palate". In his review for The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw wrote, "The Talented Mr Ripley begins as an ingenious exposition of the great truth about charming people having something to hide: namely, their utter reliance on others. It ends up as a dismayingly unthrilling thriller and bafflingly unconvincing character study". In her review for the Village Voice, Amy Taubin criticized Anthony Minghella as a "would-be art film director who never takes his eye off the box office, doesn't allow himself to become embroiled in such complexity. He turns The Talented Mr. Ripley into a splashy tourist trap of a movie. The effect is rather like reading The National Enquirer in a café overlooking the Adriatic".


Academy Award nominations

Award Nomination Nominee
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor Jude Law
Academy Award for Best Art Direction Roy Walker
Bruno Cesari
Academy Award for Best Costume Design Ann Roth
Hassan Sahili
Academy Award for Best Original Music Score Gabriel Yared
Academy Award for Best Writing Anthony Minghella

Golden Globe nominations

Award Nomination Nominee
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Matt Damon
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Jude Law
Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama The Talented Mr. Ripley
Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score Gabriel Yared
Golden Globe Award for Best Director Anthony Minghella

Awards won

See also


External links

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