Henry & June

October 5th, 1990


Henry & June

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Still of Uma Thurman, Maria de Medeiros and Fred Ward in Henry & JuneStill of Uma Thurman in Henry & JuneStill of Uma Thurman, Richard E. Grant and Maria de Medeiros in Henry & JuneStill of Uma Thurman and Richard E. Grant in Henry & JuneStill of Uma Thurman, Maria de Medeiros and Fred Ward in Henry & JuneStill of Uma Thurman, Maria de Medeiros and Fred Ward in Henry & June

In 1931 Paris, Anais Nin meets Henry Miller and his wife June. Intrigued by them both, she begins expanding her sexual horizons with her husband Hugo as well as with Henry and others...

Release Year: 1990

Rating: 6.3/10 (6,625 voted)

Director: Philip Kaufman

Stars: Fred Ward, Uma Thurman, Maria de Medeiros

In 1931 Paris, Anais Nin meets Henry Miller and his wife June. Intrigued by them both, she begins expanding her sexual horizons with her husband Hugo as well as with Henry and others. June shuttles between Paris and New York trying to find acting jobs while Henry works on his first major work, "Tropic of Cancer," a pseudo-biography of June. Anais and Hugo help finance the book, but June is displeased with Henry's portrayal of her, and Anais and Henry have many arguments about their styles of writing on a backdrop of a Bohemian lifestyle in Paris.

Writers: Anaïs Nin, Philip Kaufman

Fred Ward - Henry Miller
Uma Thurman - June Miller
Maria de Medeiros - Anaïs Nin
Richard E. Grant - Hugo Guiler
Kevin Spacey - Richard Osborn
Jean-Philippe Écoffey - Eduardo Sanchez (as Jean-Philippe Ecoffey)
Bruce Myers - Jack
Juan Luis Buñuel - Publisher / editor (as Jean-Luis Bunuel)
Féodor Atkine - Paco Miralles
Sylvie Huguel - Emilia
Artus de Penguern - Brassaï
Pierre Étaix - Henry's friend no. 1
Pierre Edernac - Henry's friend no.2 - magician
Gaëtan Bloom - Henry's friend no.3
Alexandre De Gall - Henry's friend no. 4 - clown

Taglines: A True Adventure More Erotic Than Any Fantasy

Release Date: 5 October 1990

Filming Locations: Paris, France

Opening Weekend: $1,032,942 (USA) (5 October 1990) (76 Screens)

Gross: $11,567,449 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Director Kaufman first came into contact with Miller's works in the '50s while at the University of Chicago. He recalled that [i]Tropic of Cancer[/i] (mentioned in the film as the book Henry is in the process of writing) "was the ultimate secret book everybody was reading".

June Miller: What don't I understand?
AnaÔs Nin: That I love you.
June Miller: Love? You just want experience. You're a writer. You make love to whatever you need. You're just like Henry.

User Review

Hidden Treasure

Rating: 10/10

Phillip Kaufman's loving examination of Anais Nin's relationship with Henry and June Miller is an enthralling journey. In the film Anais is inspired by Henry and June to descend into a world of debauchery that fuels her erotic writing. We the audience see Henry and June through the eyes of Anais, which may mean it's not exactly as they really were, but rather a romanticised version of them. This is NOT a biopic of Henry Miller, which is the foolish mistake that some reviewers seemed to make on the films release.

The script tends to meander a bit, lacking any real plot. Each scene lives for itself, some more successfully than others. But in the torrid climax when Anais' wild ways have finally caught up with her, it all comes together nicely to leave a feeling of completion.

The cast is first rate. Maria de Medeiros, despite not having top billing, get's the bulk of the screen time as Anais. She has a captivating look, and embodies a sense of innocence throughout, despite displaying the most promiscuous nature. If at times she overdoes the melodrama, she should be commended for managing to purr out some rather flowery dialogue without sounding silly. Many lesser actresses would have faltered.

In what is undoubtably the highlight of his film career, Fred Ward instils Henry with some old styled charisma and gusto. While he gives us a throughly entertaining Henry, I still however have trouble seeing this character as a writer of erotic fiction. He seems too much like a man's man. The original casting choice of Alec Baldwin would make more sense in this case, but I doubt in the end he would have been as entertaining in the role as Ward.

Uma Thurman, as June, gives a memorable performance. It's the most showy character in the film, and Thurman gets the chance for plenty of legitimate scenery chewing. She uses the full scale of emotions and performs a transformation of the character from menacing seductress to pitiful emotional wreck. Despite the surprising comments of one of the other posters here, it really is one of the best performances of her young and promising career.

In support, Richard E. Grant is awkward (probably purposely) as Hugo, Anais' well-hung and faithful husband. Jean-Philippe Écoffey is adequate as Anais' cousin and brief lover. Kevin Spacey is amusing in what now looks like a cameo, but then was quite an important role for him.

Philippe Rousselot's cinematography is beautifully done. He creates an almost surreal feeling of Paris in the 1930's. The music is also well placed and adds to this mood. Kaufman and Rousselot make the numerous sex-scenes things of beauty rather than titillating, they get creative with them. In fact, the film is surprisingly unarousing considering the amount of sex occurring in it. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing I guess you can decide for yourself. Why on earth it got an NC-17 rating I don't know. I doubt it would if released today.

Not everyone will like this film. It is 'arty farty' so to speak. It's maybe even a little pretentious. But I find it to be a fascinating and just plain absorbing trip. I have managed to find the time to watch it quite a few times, and it seems to improve with age. I recommend it to any thinking filmgoers.



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