The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter

Movie: The Scarlet Letter
Director: Roland Joffé
Produced by: Buena Vista
Released By:
MPAA Rating: R

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel of hypocrisy among America’s pilgrims was brought to the screen by director Roland Joffe in this 1995 feature. Demi Moore stars as Hester Prynne, a new arrival to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1666. Prynne, who interacts freely with slaves and Quakers and wears revealing garb, is something of a free thinker and off-putting to the uptight locals. She awaits the arrival of her husband, Roger, but he is reported killed. One person who does not find Prynne unsettling is the new preacher, Arthur Dimmesdale. A torrid encounter between them produces a child, Pearl, and Hester is condemned by the colony, forced to wear a scarlet letter “A”. Roger reappears, he had been living with a native tribe — an experience that has driven him mad. He masquerades as “Roger Chillingsworth,” trying to discover the identity of Pearl’s father. When Hester is about to be executed, Dimmesdale confesses, but a timely Indian raid intervenes, saving him and Hester. The Scarlet Letter was widely derided by critics for sexualizing and changing Hawthorne’s novel to an absurd degree.

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