The Talented Mr. Ripley (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Talented Mr. Ripley
Talented mr ripley.jpg
North American theatrical release poster
Directed byAnthony Minghella
Screenplay byAnthony Minghella
Based onThe Talented Mr. Ripley
by Patricia Highsmith
Produced byWilliam Horberg
Tom Sternberg
CinematographyJohn Seale
Edited byWalter Murch
Music byGabriel Yared
Mirage Enterprises
Timnick Films
Distributed byParamount Pictures
(North America)
Miramax International
(International; through Buena Vista International[1][note 1])
Release dates
  • December 12, 1999 (1999-12-12) (Fox Bruin Theater)
  • December 25, 1999 (1999-12-25) (United States)
Running time
139 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$40 million[2]
Box office$128.8 million[2]

The Talented Mr. Ripley is a 1999 American psychological thriller film written and directed by Anthony Minghella, and based on Patricia Highsmith's 1955 novel of the same name. It stars Matt Damon as Tom Ripley, with Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett and Philip Seymour Hoffman in supporting roles.

The novel was previously filmed twice. In 1957, a one-hour version was produced for the TV anthology series Studio One, directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, though no recording survives. In 1960, a full-length film version was released, titled Purple Noon (French: Plein soleil) and directed by René Clément, starring Alain Delon in his first major role. Claude Chabrol's 1968 film Les biches ('The Does') uses many elements of Highsmith's novel but switches the gender of the main characters. The film was a critical and commercial success. It received five Academy Award nominations, including Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Law.


While working at a fancy party as a pianist, Tom Ripley is approached by shipping magnate Herbert Greenleaf, who believes that Ripley attended Princeton with his son, Dickie, because Ripley wears a borrowed Princeton jacket. Greenleaf recruits Ripley to travel to Italy, where Dickie has settled, to persuade him to return to the United States. Greenleaf offers Ripley a $1000 bonus and all expenses paid. After a first-class ocean liner voyage, Ripley pretends to be Dickie in the Italian ship terminal and strikes up a friendship with an American socialite, Meredith Logue.

In the fictional seaside village of Mongibello, Ripley befriends Dickie and his girlfriend, Marge Sherwood, claiming to be Dickie's former Princeton classmate. Ripley enjoys Dickie's extravagant lifestyle and becomes obsessed with him. Eventually Dickie tires of him and starts spending time with his patrician, socialite friend Freddie Miles, who treats Ripley with contempt. When he returns from Rome, Dickie catches Ripley dressed in his clothes and dancing in front of a mirror, which disturbs him.

When Dickie impregnates a local woman and spurns her, she is so distraught that she drowns herself. Ripley, aware of what has happened, promises Dickie to keep it a secret. After Dickie's father cuts off Ripley's travel funds, Dickie cancels a trip to Venice and tells Ripley they should part ways, but offers to take him on a final trip to Sanremo. They argue aboard a small boat; Dickie says he has grown tired of Ripley and is going to marry Marge. Ripley insinuates that Dickie is rejecting him because he is afraid of the feelings they have developed for each other. They struggle and Ripley kills Dickie with an oar. He takes Dickie's belongings and scuttles the boat.

Realizing that people mistake him for Dickie, Ripley assumes his identity. He forges a letter to Marge, convincing her that Dickie has broken off their relationship and moved to Rome. He creates the illusion that Dickie is still alive by checking into one hotel as Dickie and another as himself, fabricating an exchange of communications between the two. Through forgery, he is able to draw on Dickie's allowance, which allows him to live lavishly. He runs into Meredith, who still knows him as Dickie, in the Gucci store in Rome, and accepts an invitation from her to attend an opera with her family. Ripley's ruse is threatened when he unexpectedly runs into Marge and her friend Peter Smith-Kingsley at the opera. Ripley rushes Meredith out of the opera house on a pretext, then breaks it off with her to prevent himself from being exposed.

Freddie shows up at Ripley's apartment looking for Dickie. When the landlady addresses Ripley as "Dickie", Freddie realizes the fraud. Exposed, Ripley bludgeons Freddie to death and disposes of his body. After the body is found, Inspector Roverini and other police officers visit the apartment to question "Dickie". To evade the police and Marge, both of whom are looking for Dickie, Ripley forges a suicide note with "Dickie" claiming responsibility for Freddie's death. Under his real name, Ripley then travels to Venice, where he re-encounters Marge's friend Peter. Peter acts as Ripley's interpreter for a meeting with the local police to discuss Dickie. Ripley is alarmed when he learns the Venetian police have summoned an inspector from Rome. He is relieved when the investigator who arrives is not Roverini (who knows Ripley as Dickie), but a different officer who has never met Ripley before.

Dickie's father arrives in Italy with a private detective, Alvin MacCarron, and meets with the police. Ripley is about to kill Marge when she discovers that he has Dickie's rings and deduces what happened, but they are interrupted by Peter, with whom Ripley has become very close. Mr. Greenleaf dismisses Marge's suspicions and MacCarron reveals to Ripley that the police are convinced that Dickie, who had a history of violence, murdered Freddie before killing himself. MacCarron tells Ripley that to reward him for his loyalty to Dickie — and to ensure his silence — Greenleaf intends to bequeath a portion of Dickie's trust fund to him.

Free and clear of his crimes, Ripley boards a ship to Greece with Peter; it is implied they are now lovers. Ripley is surprised to encounter Meredith, who still believes he is Dickie and also knows Peter socially. Ripley kisses her and promises to talk later. In his cabin, Peter tells Ripley he saw him kiss Meredith, and Ripley makes weak excuses. Ripley realizes that he has to kill Peter, since Meredith is traveling with her family and would be missed. Ripley admits that he lied about who he is, and laments that he will always be alone because of what he has done. He asks Peter to tell him good things about Tom Ripley and sobs as he strangles Peter to death.



The Guardian reported that Leonardo DiCaprio declined the role which went to Damon.[3] Minghella cast Matt Damon after seeing his performance in Good Will Hunting, because he felt the actor had the right mix of "credibility and warmth and generosity" to engage the audience and help them understand how Ripley "thinks and operates".[4] The character of Meredith Logue, not present in the novel, was added by Minghella with Cate Blanchett in mind. He was "entranced" with Blanchett after meeting with her and surprised that she was actually interested in playing the small part; Minghella went on to write more scenes for the character to expand her role.[4]

Minghella happened to see the dailies from a film his wife Caroline Choa was producing at the time, which Law starred in: The Wisdom of Crocodiles. Minghella was impressed with Law's performance and offered him the role of Dickie; in his "insane arrogance", as Law put it, he initially refused, because he did not wish to play a "pretty boy". After learning of the cast Minghella was assembling and coming to understand that he would be "in safe hands" with the director, Law later accepted the part.[5]


Apart from the beginning scenes filmed in New York City, the movie was shot entirely on location in Italy. The cliffside resort town of Positano and various villages on the islands of Ischia and Procida, near Naples, were used to represent the fictional town of "Mongibello".[6] Frequent and unpredictable rain hampered the production, with Minghella stating that "we had to deliver this gorgeous Mediterranean world, this beautiful world of Southern Italy, and we could never get Italy to turn beautiful...We would divide the scenes up, often into words, and go out and get two or three words and then it would start to rain and we'd have to go back in again."[4] The scenes taking place in San Remo were actually filmed in Anzio, a resort town near Rome. Famous locations included the Piazza Navona, the Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna in Rome, and the Caffè Florian in the Piazza San Marco, Venice.[6]

To prepare for the role of Ripley, Damon lost 30 pounds and learned to play the piano.[7] Jude Law gained weight and learned to play the saxophone for his character; he also broke a rib when he fell backward while filming the murder scene in the boat.[8]



Critical response[edit]

The Talented Mr. Ripley received generally positive reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 83%, based on reviews from 133 critics, with an average rating of 7.30/10. The consensus reads, "With Matt Damon's unsettling performance offering a darkly twisted counterpoint to Anthony Minghella's glossy direction, The Talented Mr. Ripley is a suspense thriller that lingers."[9] On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 76/100 based on reviews from 35 critics, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.[10] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a "C+" grade.[11]

Roger Ebert gave the film four-out-of-four stars, calling it "an intelligent thriller" that is "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".[12] In her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin praised Law's performance: "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".[13] Entertainment Weekly gave the film an "A-" rating, and Lisa Schwarzbaum wrote: "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".[14]

Charlotte O'Sullivan of Sight & Sound 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".[15] Time named it one of the ten best films of the year and called it a "devious twist on the Patricia Highsmith crime novel".[16] James Berardinelli gave the film two and a half stars out of four, calling it "a solid adaptation" that "will hold a viewer's attention", but criticized "Damon's weak performance" and "a running time that's about 15 minutes too long."[17] Berardinelli compared the film unfavorably with the previous adaptation, Purple Noon, which he gave four stars.[18] He wrote, "The remake went back to the source material, Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley. The result, while arguably truer to the events of Highsmith's book, is vastly inferior. To say it suffers by comparison to Purple Noon is an understatement. Almost every aspect of René Clément's 1960 motion picture is superior to that of Minghella's 1999 version, from the cinematography to the acting to the screenplay. Matt Damon might make a credible Tom Ripley, but only for those who never experienced Alain Delon's portrayal."[19]

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".[20] 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".[21] In her review for The Village Voice, Amy Taubin criticized 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".[22]

Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck has cited The Talented Mr. Ripley as one of his favorite films of all time.[23] He hired its composer, Gabriel Yared, to write a theme for his own film, The Lives of Others, and its cinematographer, John Seale, to work on his second feature, The Tourist.


Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
1999 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actor Jude Law Nominated [24]
Best Adapted Screenplay Anthony Minghella Nominated
Best Original Score Gabriel Yared Nominated
Best Art Direction Roy Walker (art director)
Bruno Cesari (set decorator)
Best Costume Design Ann Roth
Gary Jones
2000 BAFTA Awards Best Film William Horberg
Tom Sternberg
Nominated [25]
Best Direction Anthony Minghella Nominated
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Jude Law Won
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Cate Blanchett Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Anthony Minghella Nominated
Best Cinematography John Seale Nominated
Best Film Music Gabriel Yared Nominated
2000 Berlin International Film Festival Golden Bear Anthony Minghella Nominated
2000 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Film The Talented Mr. Ripley Nominated
Best Composer Gabriel Yared Won
2000 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Cinematography John Seale Nominated
2001 Empire Awards Best British Actor Jude Law Nominated
2000 Golden Globe Awards Best Motion Picture – Drama The Talented Mr. Ripley Nominated [26]
Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Matt Damon Nominated
Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Jude Law Nominated
Best Director Anthony Minghella Nominated
Best Original Score Gabriel Yared Nominated
2000 Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards Best Film The Talented Mr. Ripley Nominated
Best Director Anthony Minghella Nominated
Best Actor Matt Damon Nominated
Best Screenplay Anthony Minghella Nominated
Best Score Gabriel Yared Nominated
Best Cinematography John Seale Nominated
2000 London Film Critics Circle Awards British Supporting Actor of the Year Jude Law Nominated
British Screenwriter of the Year Anthony Minghella Nominated
2000 MTV Movie Awards Best Musical Sequence Matt Damon
Rosario Fiorello
Jude Law
Best Villain Matt Damon Nominated
2000 National Board of Review Awards Top Ten Films The Talented Mr. Ripley Nominated [27]
Best Director Anthony Minghella Won
Best Supporting Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman Won
2000 Online Film Critics Society Awards Best Adapted Screenplay Anthony Minghella Nominated
1999 Satellite Awards Best Film The Talented Mr. Ripley Nominated
Best Director Anthony Minghella Nominated
Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Drama Jude Law Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Anthony Minghella Nominated
Best Cinematography John Seale Nominated
Best Editing Walter Murch Nominated
2000 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Actor Matt Damon Nominated
Choice Movie: Breakout Star Jude Law Nominated
Choice Movie: Drama The Talented Mr. Ripley Nominated
Choice Movie: Liar Matt Damon Nominated
2000 Writers Guild of America Awards Best Adapted Screenplay Anthony Minghella Nominated


  1. ^ Since the acquisition of Miramax by ViacomCBS, Paramount owns the worldwide rights to the movie.


  1. ^ "The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)". BBFC. Retrieved July 11, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 23, 2012.
  3. ^ Ojumu, Akin (January 30, 2000). "Bad will hunting". The Guardian. London. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Bricker, Tierney (December 12, 2019). "20 Secrets About The Talented Mr. Ripley Revealed". E! News. Retrieved January 6, 2020.
  5. ^ Vanity Fair (January 14, 2020). Jude Law Breaks Down His Career, from 'Sherlock Holmes' to 'The New Pope'. YouTube. Archived from the original on November 17, 2021. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Film locations for the Talented Mr. Ripley". Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  7. ^ Interview with Matt Damon – Mr. Ripley. YouTube. November 14, 2009. Archived from the original on November 17, 2021. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  8. ^ The Talented Mr. Ripley: Jude Law Exclusive Interview. YouTube. January 14, 2015. Archived from the original on November 17, 2021. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  9. ^ "The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 8, 2022.
  10. ^ "The Talented Mr. Ripley". Metacritic.
  11. ^ "Talented Mr. Ripley, The (1999)". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on December 20, 2018. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
  12. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 24, 1999). "The Talented Mr. Ripley". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved July 6, 2009.
  13. ^ Maslin, Janet (December 24, 1999). "Stealing a New Life, Carnal, Glamorous And Worth the Price". The New York Times. Retrieved July 6, 2009.
  14. ^ Schwarzbaum, Lisa (January 7, 2000). "The Talented Mr. Ripley". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on October 18, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2009.
  15. ^ O'Sullivan, Charlotte (March 2000). "The Talented Mr. Ripley". Sight & Sound. Archived from the original on May 11, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2009.
  16. ^ "The Best Cinema of 1999". Time. March 2000. Archived from the original on April 8, 2008. Retrieved July 6, 2009.
  17. ^ Berardinelli, James. "The Talented Mr. Ripley". Retrieved October 14, 2011.
  18. ^ Berardinelli, James. "Purple Noon (Plein Soleil)". Retrieved October 14, 2011.
  19. ^ Berardinelli, James. "James Berardinelli Top 100: #86: Purple Noon". Retrieved October 14, 2011.
  20. ^ Sarris, Andrew (December 26, 1999). "The Year at the Movies: Overlong, Overambitious". The New York Observer. Archived from the original on October 8, 2008. Retrieved July 6, 2009.
  21. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (February 25, 2000). "The Talented Mr. Ripley". The Guardian. London. Retrieved July 6, 2009.
  22. ^ Taubin, Amy (December 21, 1999). "From Riches to Rags: Ugly Americans and Plucky Irish". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved July 6, 2009.
  23. ^ Henckel von Donnersmarck, Florian (March 7, 2015). Kino! (in German) (1. Aufl ed.). Berlin: Suhrkamp Verlag. ISBN 978-3518465134.
  24. ^ "Nominees & Winners for the 72nd Academy Awards". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Archived from the original on November 9, 2014.
  25. ^ "Film in 2000". BAFTA Awards. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  26. ^ Higgins, Bill; Gray, Tim (December 20, 1999). "Globes' Beauty pageant". Variety. Los Angeles. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  27. ^ "1999 Award Winners". National Board of Review. Retrieved February 14, 2019.

External links[edit]