Synopsis by Mark Deming
Based on the novel by Valerie Martin, this gothic suspense story offers a fresh perspective on Robert Louis Stevenson's classic horror tale Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by presenting the material from a different viewpoint -- that of Mary Reilly (Julia Roberts), an Irish servant girl who has come to work for esteemed surgeon Dr. Henry Jekyll (John Malkovich). Mary is fascinated but also intimidated by her new employer, while the doctor seems to take a personal interest in her that goes beyond mere professional courtesy, much to the annoyance of Mr. Poole (George Cole), Jekyll's brutish manservant who also appears to have his eye on her. Jekyll's interest in Mary increases when he learns that she was abused as a child by her violent and repressive father. The doctor seems to take a keen interest in the violent and uncontrollable side of human nature. One day, he announces to his housekeeping staff that his new colleague, Edward Hyde, may be dropping by unexpectedly and not to be alarmed at his presence. Just as she's become attracted to the studious Dr. Jekyll, Mary is fascinated by the brash and impulsive Mr. Hyde, though he carries an air of danger with him at all times -- and Mary doesn't realize at first that he is merely a manifestation of the darker side of Jekyll's personality. Mary Reilly also features Glenn Close as the Madame Mrs. Farraday. Stephen Frears -- who previously worked with Close, Malkovich and screenwriter Christopher Hampton on 1988's Dangerous Liaisons -- directed.
butler, Dr. Jekyll, employer/employee, housekeeper, human-nature, maid, servant, child-abuse