The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

Directed by Anthony Minghella

Tom Ripley is a calculating young man who believes it's better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody. Opportunity knocks in the form of a wealthy U.S. shipbuilder who hires Tom to travel to Italy to bring back his playboy son, Dickie. Ripley worms his way into the idyllic lives of Dickie and his girlfriend, plunging into a daring scheme of duplicity, lies and murder.

Note that the opera Tom Ripley is shown to be weeping over is Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. And why wouldn't he...? After all, the opera tells the story a selfish hero who lives to regret his blasé rejection of a woman's love and his careless incitement of a fatal duel with his best friend. (Not unrelatedly, Brian Eggert shrewdly observes the contrast between Ripley's apparently genuine love of the opera and his learned love of jazz.)


[I]n her books and subsequent interviews, Highsmith has maintained that Tom Ripley is not an overtly sexual being in any respect. If a definition must be given, she claimed it would be bisexual, but the answer is more accurately asexual. In his adaptation, [director] Minghella enriches the character by implying that Tom’s sexuality must be suppressed to exist safely, thus making his character’s choice in the end devastating and a symptom of a perceived cruel world on a displaced individual.

Brian Eggert (Deep Focus Review)