Five Reasons You’ll Love It - November 20, 2017

The Beguiled - Five Reasons You’ll Love It
by Roz
Roz
by Roz hmv London, Bio hmv guest film critic and writer

The Beguiled - Five Reasons You’ll Love It

Sofia Coppola came back to Cannes 2017 with a different take rather than remake of The Beguiled. Many will remember the 1971 classic with Clint Eastwood as it’s star but the 2017 version is firmly rooted in the Southern Gothic book by Thomas Cullinan. It unfolds slow as one would imagine everything does in the Southern states of America - pleasure should not be used and manners above all, Ladies first. Sofia not only wrote but directed this tale of women surviving in the midst of the Civil War and how their world is turned upside down when one of them, Miss Amy (Bona Laurence) finds Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell) a Irish privateer fighting on behalf of the Yankees who flees once he realises the true horror of war. She’s the chick leading the wounded lion into the hen house and boy is he in for a shock!

 

The attention to period detail and practices is incredible...

In the opening scenes as Miss Farmsworth (Nicole Kidman) mends and stitches Corporal John McBurney’s leg Coppola does not flinch from showing the true horror of the time without anaesthetic. Some of those early scenes are not for the faint hearted.

 

The tension mixed with humour is what sets this film aparts...

When the shift in the film comes and John McBurney realises that he is the one who is in fact beguiled there are still laughs to be had. It is not all doom and gloom especially when the ladies sit down to dinner for the final act it is intentionally funny and we laugh at the absurdity of the situation.

 

Women are front and centre of this film...

In telling the story from the female point of view it completely alters the dynamic of the film. It means the build up of sexual tension is subtler, genteel almost and much less aggressive and obvious.

 

The cinematography makes the film all the more atmospheric...

The intentional use of natural light means that scenes shot at night time are dark and feel all the more authentic for it. The day scenes especially those outside capture the the way the sunlight dances across the Spanish moss and the heat of a Southern summer.

 

The supporting cast of young actresses...

Angourie Rice (Miss Jane), Bona Laurence (Miss Amy) and Addison Riecke (Miss Marie) steal the show. They are all attendees of Ms Farmsworth seminary for young ladies and they display the innocence and horror as the story unfolds perfectly.

The Beguiled
The Beguiled Don Siegel, Sofia Coppola