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Mary Reilly [Jekyll and Hyde]

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Mary Reilly (1996) starring Julia Roberts, John Malkovich
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Mary Reilly (1996) starring Julia Roberts, John Malkovich

Mary Reilly is a telling of the Jekyll and Hyde story, from the perspective of a housemaid. A housemaid who begins to fall in love with both men …


The concept of Mary Reilly is good, but the execution is very flawed. It’s a good idea to see the story of Jekyll and Hyde through a third person’s eyes. But it’s poorly done here. The stage is set properly:

Mary Reilly: He said you have an illness. What kind of an illness?
Dr. Henry Jekyll: You might call it a fracture in my soul, something which left me with a taste for oblivion.

The villainous Hyde

The movie gets the character of Hyde very wrong. He’s supposed to be Jekyll’s evil half, with none of his “good” character. But, he repeatedly is tender to Mary. He chooses to not kill her, even though she knows his secret. And, knows that he should have. He mixes the final dose of antidote with poison — for her sake.

But, he’s a cold-blooded murderer and sadist. And she knows, but doesn’t care.

Mr. Edward Hyde: I feel differently with you. Why should that be? You still the rage.
Mary Reilly: Where does it come from, Sir, this rage?
Mr. Edward Hyde: How should I know? It comes in like the tide.

And, Hyde nearly rapes her. But doesn’t … For the sake of love, I suppose. But Hyde is supposed to be incapable of it. Finally, Hyde poisons the antidote, killing himself and Jekyll. for Mary’s sake, of course. And Hyde transforms into Jekyll one final time. The final transformation sequence looks really weird. Almost like The Manster.

[last lines]
Dr. Henry Jekyll: I wanted the night, you see. A – and here it is.
Mary Reilly: You said you didn’t care what the world thought of you. Nor will I.

So, the lower-class servant will keep the murderous secret of Dr. Jekyll. Why? Because the script says so. In conclusion, I’m not a fan of Mary Reilly.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.


  • Julia RobertsMary Reilly. The young Irish housemaid, who comes to work for Dr. Jekyll. He’s kind to her, and she feels affection for him. But she also starts to fall in love with the brusque, physical, Mr. Hyde.
  • John Malkovich (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) … Dr. Henry Jekyll / Mr. Edward Hyde
  • George ColeMr. Poole. Jekyll’s butler, a stern man who runs the household.
  • Michael Gambon … Mary’s Father
  • Kathy Staff … Mrs. Kent
  • Glenn Close (102 Dalmatians) … Mrs. Farraday. The madame of a brothel. Hyde brutally murdered one of her prostitutes. Leaving blood all over, even on the ceiling. She’s later murdered by Hyde herself.
  • Michael Sheen (Spawn) … Bradshaw
  • Bronagh GallagherAnnie
  • Linda BassettMary’s Mother. She dies while Mary works at Jekyll’s house.
  • Henry GoodmanHaffinger
  • Ciarán HindsSir Danvers Carew. One of Henry’s friends, a member of Parliament. Beaten to death by Hyde.


  • Julia Roberts was nominated for a Razzie for Worst Actress for this movie.
  • Mary’s accent disappears & reappears several times during the film. 
  • Though Hyde is shown to be the murderer of Mrs. Farraday and Sir Danvers Carew, it’s likely that he’s killed more people such as the unseen mutilated prostitute in Farraday’s brothel.

Editorial review of Mary Reilly courtesy of

The classic horror story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde gets a chilling new twist when seen through the eyes of Dr. Jekyll’s devoted maid, MARY REILLY. Julia Roberts (Erin Brockovich) and John Malkovich (Being John Malkovich), along with writer Christopher Hampton and director Stephen Frears of Dangerous Liaisons, take terror to a new level as the immortal conflict between good and evil is played out in the soul of one man. Equally attracted to her kind employer Dr. Jekyll and his mysterious assistant Mr. Hyde, Mary Reilly must confront her own dangerous desires if she is to survive humanity’s greatest evil. Newly remastered.

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