Director: Jonathan Demme

Information about the director.

Works

Film:The Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs

Jonathan Demme

Based on Thomas Harris’s novel, this terrifying film by Jonathan Demme really only contains a couple of genuinely shocking moments (one involving an autopsy, the other a prison break). The rest of the film is a splatter-free visual and psychological descent into the hell of madness, redeemed astonishingly by an unlikely connection between a monster and a haunted young woman. Anthony Hopkins is extraordinary as the cannibalistic psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter, virtually entombed in a subterranean prison for the criminally insane. At the behest of the FBI,…

Film:Something Wild

Something Wild

Jonathan Demme

Jonathan Demme’s sexy 1986 road comedy, a story about the liberation of a stuffed-shirt businessman (Jeff Daniels) by a free-spirited punkette (Melanie Griffith), looks better and better as the years go by. By dressing Griffith in a bowl-cut black wig and giving her character the resonant nickname Lulu, Demme establishes a clear link with G.W. Pabst’s 1928 Louise Brooks melodrama Pandora’s Box—except that in this case the influence of a sexual free spirit is not seen as malign or corrupting. The turning point comes when the girl’s hard-edged manner is…

Film:The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

The Manchurian Candidate

Jonathan Demme

Serving together in the Persian Gulf War, Captain Bennett Marco and Sgt. Raymond Shaw were part of a platoon of soldiers kidnapped and brainwashed. Ten years later, Shaw gears up for his vice presidential campaign while Marco eventually remembers being kidnapped and discovers Shaw’s powerful mother played a big part in that scheme. Determined to reveal the truth behind everything, Marco must first convince Shaw that the brainwashing really happened.

Film:Philadelphia

Philadelphia

Jonathan Demme

Philadelphia wasn’t the first movie about AIDS (it followed such worthy independent films as Parting Glances and Longtime Companion), but it was the first Hollywood studio picture to take AIDS as its primary subject. In that sense, Philadelphia is a historically important film. As such, it’s worth remembering that director Jonathan Demme (Melvin and Howard, Something Wild, The Silence of the Lambs) wasn’t interested in preaching to the converted; he set out to make a film that would connect with a mainstream…

Film:Melvin and Howard

Melvin and Howard

Jonathan Demme

Jonathan Demme would later become one of America’s premiere directors, with an Oscar for The Silence of the Lambs and numerous nominations to his credit, but it was this sublime 1980 comedy that put him on the Hollywood map. Esteemed critic Pauline Kael called it “an almost flawless act of sympathetic imagination,” referring to the movie’s semifictional treatment of the true story of Melvin Dummar (played to perfection by Paul LeMat), an average guy whose life was turned upside down when he was made beneficiary of a $156 million will allegedly signed by…

Film:Beloved (1998)

Beloved

Jonathan Demme

Oprah Winfrey (The Color Purple) and Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon IV, The Royal Tenenbaums) play the unforgettable lead roles in a powerful, widely acclaimed cinematic triumph from Jonathan Demme—the Academy Award(R)-winning director of The Silence of the Lambs. On a difficult journey to find freedom, Sethe (Winfrey) is constantly confronted by the secrets that have haunted her for years. Then, an old friend from out of her past (Glover) unexpectedly reenters her life. With his help, Sethe may finally be able to rediscover who she is and regain her lost sense of hope. Also featuring outstanding performances from Thandie Newton (Gridlock’d) and Lisa Gay Hamilton (TV’s The Practice)—you’ll agree with critics everywhere who’ve hailed this landmark adaptation of Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel as one of the year’s finest films!

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