Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled takes place in 1864 Virginia, during the Civil War. An enemy soldier is found in the woods by the innocent Amy while collecting mushrooms. The oppressed atmosphere and isolation are two of the main characteristics of this movie, which tells a story that occurs far from reality, in a house governed by Miss Martha under her own terms.
The performances are without a doubt one of the highlights of Coppola’s efforts to remake the classic starring Clint Eastwood and Geraldine Page. In this case, the director achieves a sense of collective among the female characters, while still creating some unique and complicated personalities for each one of them. Nicole Kidman gives a performance of immense emotional complexity, with her contained yet sensual portrayal of a tough, intelligent woman who puts others’ needs before hers. The youngest members of the cast, including the always charming Elle Fanning, add a lot to the tension and help drive the plot forward.
In this sense, we can’t forget about Colin Farrell; his presence disturbs Miss Martha’s household in the best and in the worst way possible. Some could say the way the female characters are affected by this man is somehow ridiculous, as if they never have been close to one before; however, the tedious day-to-day of their lives and the pain of the war makes this dynamic coherent, and at times a good premise to build up tension and conflict throughout the film.
This powerful story about womanhood is also greatly supported by a flawless cinematography, great sound-editing and the beautiful scenery, full of mystery and uncertainty. Psychologically challenging, this drama won’t appeal to fast-paced thriller lovers, since it explores behaviour and provides insights about human nature and gender roles, in a way that goes beyond the plot and the massive third act twist. Perhaps Sofia Coppola’s best film since Lost in Translation, The Beguiled is definitely, a must-see.
The Beguiled is released nationwide on 14th July 2017.
Watch the trailer for The Beguiled here: