The Lolita Complex
Okay so we’re going to unpack the psychology of this puppy as I have before 22 years later this remake of the 1955 publication would not happen in 2020 — especially in the era of MeToo, TimesUp, and NoMore. The controversy of the 1998 film staring a then fresh faced 15-year-old Dominque Swain as 12-year-old Lolita and a 50-year-old Jeremy Irons playing the role of , Humbert Humbert, colossal enough that not only was it shown in select theaters but upon it’s release to Showtime a year after it’s initial release it nearly didn’t happen due to the understandable outcry of outraged Women, feminists of the 1990’s, activists, the Evangelical community, etc. This meant that albeit the budget for the film was $62,000,000 the film grossed merely $1,147,784.
Now reverting back to the unloading of the psychological aspect of the Vladimir Nabokov novel turned film twice over. Essentially for one if you want to dare to delve inside the mind of a pedophile Lolita is the publication for you.. well at least some pedophiles because some pedophiles do believe they “love” the children they abuse. A twisted sick “love” nonetheless. As frightening as it sounds there are differently motivated pedophiles just as there are dissimilar kinds of rapists that prey on adults or stalkers for that matter. The publication of Lolita and another one entitled “The Lover” (or L’Amant in French) the semi-autobiographical novel by the late ,Marguerite Duras, that unlike, Lolita, cast a 19-year-old to play a 15-year-old — both were actually commentaries of the aristocracy, the privileged, and how they lived and often times presently do as we’ve seen with perpetrators such as the infamous Epstein— the works weren’t a blueprint or some substructural support of “Hey be a pedophile!” In all fairness in L’Amont the protagonist did tell a mistruth to the 32-year-old diplomat stating she was 17 and was very much willing to be his mistress as it was a common occurrence among the Chinese aristocracy of the region to have young mistresses. That doesn’t excuse it but it does place her experience into perspective.
Furthermore, Lolita did dip into the background Humbert gave in the beginning of why he had such an affinity for young Girls based on childhood trauma that occurred around the age of the protagonist Lolita. In the story he lost his first love at age 14 to Typhus while residing in Cannes, France. In L’Amant the young Girl came from a terrible home life met with poverty and a violent male figure as her father had passed on which not unlike the real world is a vulnerability as to why a youth would fall into an exploitive circumstance. Both works convey the unhealthiness, control, misery, and violence any type of exploitive abuse brings onto youths because despite what pedophiles and exploiters believe it’s not natural nor acceptable at all.
In the real world there are few audacious individuals that have the ability to control their upchuck enough to be willing to work with or rehabilitate pedophiles but the ones that have (the brave individuals they are) have uncovered interesting findings psychologically speaking of just what motivates their behavior. I couldn’t personally be around pedophiles and refuse to deal with them at all. Humbert was quintessentially obsessed with Lolita as those who read the book and or seen in the film. The film went on to question who was the worst predator Humbert or the character of Clare Quilty? Or were they both the same just with slightly different intentions or at least how they saw it.
There is some truth to the fact young people that have been sexual abused often do act inappropriate towards adults because they’ve been exposed to the adult world and experiences they shouldn’t have at all. This behavior is often misconstrued as “manipulative”, “seducing”, fast” or “out of control” as some in society have dubbed of said young Girls who have had those unfortunate life experiences. The truth is they were abused and are only reacting to sexual abuse. Of course they’re going to be “out of control” they’ve had their innocence taken away, they’re going to react to that it’s reacting normally to abnormal unhealthy circumstances.
Needless to say the publications aren’t for the faint and honestly I wouldn’t read it again because I seriously felt like I was going to regurgitate reading Humbert’s character babble on disturbingly about a child they’re essentially ruining their life before it ever begins. If I recall correctly there also existed a racist aspect too based on Humbert’s critique of Girls and Women of color in one section but when you jump into the mind of a pedophile there’s a great deal of narcissism in there always judging others by their “standards.”
I have to say on a positive note (if any) the costuming and cinematography were great for both but again not recommended for the easily nauseated. One of my first published articles was written around the ,Lolita complex, and how it infiltrated the Hollywood system when it came to character writing of Girl/Woman characters as well as the arts field in general as we all know.