Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 26.32%
Just Average: 26.32%
Pretty Crappy: 0%
Sucks: 5.26%

3 reviews, 39 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Pick of the Litter by Jay Seaver

Fahrenheit 11/9 by Peter Sobczynski

House With A Clock In Its Walls, The by Peter Sobczynski

Life Itself (2018) by Peter Sobczynski

Unity of Heroes by Jay Seaver

Hanagatami by Jay Seaver

Predator, The by Jay Seaver

Fahrenheit 11/9 by Rob Gonsalves

Madeline's Madeline by Jay Seaver

Won't You Be My Neighbor? by Rob Gonsalves

subscribe to this feed

Valley of the Dolls
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Cochise

"This film does have meaning."
4 stars

A chick flick with a substantial and meaningful point, the film is not just fluff.

The story involves four women in the show business world who react differently to the stresses involved in the industry. The term “dolls” in the title refers to the uppers and downers some show business people need to take in order to maintain the heavy workloads involved in the business. The film is a good lesson in why one should not use drugs.

This film asks the question, “What quality must a person have to be able to rise above a bad situation?” The answer is inner strength. The film demonstrates how important inner strength is to succeed in a harsh world.

The four main female characters illustrate this point.

Anne Wells

She has self-confidence from the beginning. She goes to New York to discover herself, which shows her confidence. She is not afraid to throw herself into a strange situation.

Right away we see her self-assurance when she goes for her job interview. The following conversation takes place:

Bellamy: Some days you’ll have to work until midnight
having dinner with
me and a prospective client. I’ll drink too much and
won’t remember a damn word next morning. You’ll
have but one sherry and will remember everything.

Wells: I have an excellent memory and I love sherry.

Bellamy: Think you can handle it?

Wells: I’m sure I can.

She then goes and confronts Helen Lawson. She did then decide to quit, but I do not think this is a sign she lacks confidence, as it does not take much at all for Lyon Burke to convince her to stay.

Towards the end of the film she weakens and, in one incident gets spaced out on drugs. I think this was her catharsis. She realized the futility of using the dolls, made the decision to go back to her home town, and then dumped the boyfriend from New York. The film began with her going to New York on a journey of self-discovery, and at the end she has successfully completed that journey. Her character arc is complete.

Neely O’Hara

She seems strong in the beginning, but is unable to resist the easy way to motivation, and takes uppers and downers so she can work hard and then be able to sleep after work. However, without the inner strength to rise above the need for the dolls, she succumbs to the long-term side effects of the drugs, and they end up making it harder for her to work. Her career takes a downward slide until she hits bottom and ends up in a sanitarium. It was here that she recovers temporarily.

There was one excellent scene in the sanitarium which was especially touching. I felt moved when she brought Tony (for a few moments) out of his vegetative state, and she and Tony then sang a song together.

After Neely gets out of the sanitarium, it does not take her long to return to the dolls. Then we observe her final destruction. In the last scenes of the film, we see Neely after she was replaced by an understudy. After the perfromance is over and all the fans and everyone has left, we see Neely in an alley by herself calling out the names of her so-called friends. Of course, none of them are there for her when she is alone and in despair, they are only there when she is in her star persona on stage. The last shot of her is alone, isolated, and in despair.

Her character arc is quite a tragic one. She starts out relatively innocent and as a victim (of Helen Lawson), but soon turns out to be as selfish as Helen Lawson. Unfortunately, Neely is not as strong as Lawson, and that is one reason Neelyfalls.

Jennifer North

She is not strong. She is the also a victim in the film. Her husband dies, and she gets cancer. She falls into depression and commits suicide. Her death shows that those who are not strong can easily give into difficult circumstances.

Helen Lawson

A truly strong, albeit selfish person. She also has dignity, which is shown when she loses her wig, and instead of walking out the back of the theatre, walks out the front.

Her strength is evident in the following:

Lawson: Not me. I’ve had it rough before. I’m a barracuda. I
don’t need pills like Neely. Sure. I knew you dried her
out. But it won’t last. Neely hasn’t got that hard core
like me. She never learned to roll with the punches.
And believe me, in this business they come left, right,
and below the belt.

Belllamy: Neely had no class, no real down-to-the-gut-class.”

Lawson: But she’s talented, Henry. She’s really got it. I knew
that when I kicked her out of my show. She’d never
believe it, but I’m sorry for her. Nothing can destroy
her talent . . . but she’ll destroy herself.”

Lawson’s words also contrast Neely’s weakness with Lawson’s strength.

The male characters which include various boyfriends, agents, lawyers, and husbands are not important in themselves. They are important only in how they highlight the characters of the four female protagonists, Anne Wells, Neely O’Hara, Jennifer North, and Helen Lawson.

The cover of the DVD I bought had a sticker which said, “Treat Mom to Her Favorite DVD This Mother’s Day.” This sells the film short. The film goes a simple chick flick. It tells us about the importance one possessing inner strength.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=5248&reviewer=228
originally posted: 04/21/05 03:17:49
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

2/06/16 Rich Hammondy Well. I finally sat down and watched this "movie" today and it is horrible! 1 stars
6/24/15 Mike B Sad..Patty Duke with not 1/18th the talent of Judy Garland trying to play Judy Garland. 1 stars
2/10/12 elmer "The film goes a simple chick flick." What does this mean? 5 stars
11/16/11 Golden J. Williams Jr. Good movie, even better music. 5 stars
3/22/10 Peter Roberts Barbara Parkins Is so beautiful!!! 5 stars
10/20/08 Monster A Go-Go Gotta have my dolls, so "I can sparkle, Neely! Sparkle!"High camp saves this trash classic 5 stars
7/27/08 tonygant My fav flick of ALL time. I love Neely and the girls. 5 stars
5/09/08 Philip Turo The screenplay was better than the book, if you were short of toilet paper and had to chose 5 stars
12/05/07 Philip Turo Now that the movie is sort of out of the closet, it is not so great 4 stars
11/29/07 iggy Barbara parkins is just to beautiful-a WOW! 5 stars
10/26/07 Philip Turo It's Camp, and started out being made as serious drama. The worst relevant movie ever made! 5 stars
2/05/07 Randy Friedman The beautiful Barbara Parkins (Peyton Place) made the movie! 5 stars
10/18/06 Andy Zambella Great movie with the great Barbara Parkins. Love her! 5 stars
6/28/06 Philip Turo It is the best fucking movie ever made to watch when you are high 5 stars
2/04/06 Shawn Gadberry The ultimate bad movie--one of my all-time favorite films! I need my DOLLS! 5 stars
9/30/05 Saturated Phat Barbara Parkins was beautiful, Patty Duke over-the-top, & Sue Hayward extra dykie. 5 stars
7/25/05 Eric Rollins Dated, soapy, over the top and guilty fun. 4 stars
7/07/05 Sarah Frasier I thought this movie was fascinating in how the women were portrayed. 4 stars
4/27/05 Carolyn Rathburn Honest, sometimes too honest 4 stars
9/03/04 T.B. Patty Duke did a great job 4 stars
4/05/04 K.C. Patty Duke is fun to watch 4 stars
9/24/03 fern the movie is very poor in comparison to the novel. Jaqueline Susann was very angry tosee it 3 stars
6/26/03 Carlton Stovall Pure Genius! Patty Duke rules! Big hair and all! 5 stars
5/13/03 dana i love the song "come live with me" 4 stars
5/08/03 Andrew Carden Excellent Screenplay, Great Cast and Hot Babes. Susann...You Are My Hero. 5 stars
12/02/02 mr. Pink "I'm merely travelling incognito!!!" Really, really bad!!!!!!!!!! But fun! 4 stars
9/17/02 Gary Bristow What you have to understand is that this film spoke to the generation that it was produced 4 stars
8/24/02 Julie Nijak I love this piece of shit movie. I admit I've seen better but sometimes it's fun to watch . 3 stars
7/26/02 I Can't Swim 'That old witch oughta be boiled in oil'! Roll a bone, watch ladies overact wildly! 5 stars
6/28/02 John G. Gannatti Patty Duke is THE reason to see this cult favorite. She portrays Singer Neely O'Hara 5 stars
5/17/02 Roszzy My favorite movie 5 stars
1/21/02 Flipdraw McGraw "Sparkle, Neely, sparkle!!!" It's advice for life. 5 stars
9/11/01 Butterbean Dukes shows us how she got her "The Miracle Worker" Oscar and overdid it. It's great! 3 stars
6/15/01 Bada Bing Crosby Indispensable trash that is classically laughable; some of the best overacting is here 5 stars
4/15/01 GeorgE McCaul I think its great because Sharon Tate was in it. Patty Dukes final alley scene is priceless 5 stars
4/14/01 Carmen Very good movie 5 stars
3/24/01 Klute Overhyped, underserved. 1 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  DVD: 13-Jun-2006



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast