The Hotel New Hampshire

The Hotel New Hampshire
Jennifer Dundas

Jennifer Dundas

Screen Time: 25%
Role: Lilly Berry
Age: 12 years old


The Hotel New Hampshire

Rating: 7.5 (4 votes)
Directed: Tony Richardson
Country: USA, Canada
Language: English
Genre: Comedy, Drama


British director Tony Richardson takes on John Irving's picaresque black comedy about an eccentric and unusually peripatetic family in a film starring Rob Lowe as John Berry, the family's oldest son. John's father, Win (Beau Bridges), is obsessed with hotels, so he buys a run-down seminary in New England, transforming it into the Hotel New Hampshire. The extended family includes the profanity-spouting Franny (Jodie Foster); Lily (Jennifer Dundas); a dwarf, Frank (Paul McCrane), who is gay; John, who is strongly attracted to his sister; Egg (Seth Green), the youngest boy; and Iowa Bob (Wilford Brimley), Win's father. After a number of tragic incidents, including the gang rape of Franny, are seen through the special lenses of black comedy, the family is invited to take over another hotel in Vienna, courtesy of their friend Freud (Wallace Shawn). On arrival, they find that the upper floors of the hotel are dedicated to prostitution and the bottom floors are occupied by terrorists. They also meet Freud's companion, Susie the Bear (Nastassia Kinski), a woman so obsessed with her unattractiveness that she spends all her time in a bear suit. Richardson elicits fine performances from his talented cast in this wild ride through the mind of John Irving.

Movie Reviews

In this film, Richardson touches upon a number of themes that at one time (and not that long ago) would have been considered taboo in a film: Homosexuality, incest and interracial relationships. And he does it successfully by weaving them into the story naturally and objectively, without expounding upon or exploring them simply to enhance the drama. This is simply the story of the Berry family, for better or worse, with John telling it like it is while refraining from any sensationalism or judgment calls, to which the likes of a film of this nature would ordinarily be disposed.

The young Dundas is also very impressive in the role of Lilly and (she is a professional writer (!)) manages to bring the necessary maturity to the character that makes her entirely credible.