75

San Francisco Chronicle

By Mick LaSalle
The mysteries of Dolores Claiborne are never gripping enough to consume an audience, and there are few, if any, surprises along the way. But the women are wonderful and reason enough to see the picture.
Full Review
75

San Francisco Examiner

By Barbara Shulgasser
All the performances are good, the script is subtle and waste-free and Danny Elfman's score is evocative and appropriate, but the direction is what gives the movie its sweep.
Full Review
75

TV Guide

Kathy Bates, so memorably creepy in "Misery", delivers what may be 1995's most underrated performance in this implicitly feminist melodrama.
Full Review
75

Chicago Sun-Times

By Roger Ebert
It's sometimes distracting to tell a story in flashbacks and memories; the story line gets sidetracked. The director, Taylor Hackford, is successful, however, in making the present seem to flow into and out of the past.
Full Review
75

ReelViews

By James Berardinelli
Although the forced ending, which seems deigned to create an unnatural moment of triumph, weakens the climactic catharsis, it doesn't diminish the naked honesty which forms the foundation of Dolores Claiborne.
Full Review
60

Empire

By Angie Errigo
Despite superb performances by Kathy Bates and Jennifer Jason Leigh, a limp, almost TV movie trite, climax never comes near delivering the shocks it should. A shame, as what could have been superb, is merely average.
Full Review
50

Rolling Stone

By Peter Travers
Despite Bates' mastery at bringing unexpected depth to unhinged characters, Dolores is a few pints low on chills and challenge.
Full Review
50

Austin Chronicle

By Marc Savlov
Second-guessing the audience in the third act takes some of the wind out of his sails (the film wraps up the loose ends so tightly you can practically see the bow), but Hackford does his best with a King tale that many thought would be unfilmable.
Full Review
50

The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

By Rick Groen
Although director Taylor Hackford ("An Officer and a Gentleman") handles the usually cumbersome flashbacks with impressive delicacy, he can't stop the narrative from sinking under its own melodramatic weight.
Full Review
33

Entertainment Weekly

By Owen Gleiberman
Since there is a mystery, the movie might have been entertaining camp had director Taylor Hackford staged it with pace, style, or a whisper of surprise. Instead, the plot just clunks forward-for two hours and 10 minutes.
Full Review
62 out of 100
Generally favorable reviews
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.