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Jul
03

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“the beguiled” movie review

The Beguiled

I loved watching The Beguiled.

I loved the actresses, I loved the costumes, I loved the moody cinematography, I loved the girl power, I loved Colin Farrell.

I did not, however, love the movie.

It should easily have been greater than the sum of its pretty great parts but it wasn’t.

Here’s the problem.

The story takes place in Virginia in 1864, three years into the Civil War. A young girl discovers a wounded Yankee soldier (Colin Farrell) lying by a tree in the forest. She takes him back to the almost-deserted all-girls school run by Miss Martha (Nicole Kidman), who agrees to take him in and help nurse him back to health.

Of course, this hunk of maleness changes everything. The girls start dressing in their finest. They sneak into his room to take a peek of him as he’s sleeping. They compete to become his favorite.

You can feel the hormones raging under those high necklines and tight corsets.

And that’s interesting.

As time goes by, it becomes less clear whether he is a guest or a prisoner. The power shifts between the man and women, keeping the tension high.

All the performances are excellent, and I especially liked Kirsten Dunst as a repressed teacher used to disappointment, and Elle Fanning as a student who refuses to be repressed. They both want out.

The Beguiled

As Corporal John McBurney begins to heal, everyone gets to know him a little better. “The enemy as an individual is not what we believe,” Miss Martha tells her charges. “His visit has taught us an important lesson.”

That’s interesting! That’s timely! That would make a meaningful story.

But it’s not this one. Because, in this one — without giving too much away — McBurney ultimately can’t keep his Union blues zipped. He simply becomes one of the gazillions of men throughout history who screws everything up by giving into temptation.

And that’s just not interesting.

An hour and a half into the movie, I still had high hopes for it. But then, the credits starting rolling — What?! No! No! — leading me to feel like this: http://www.vogue.com/slideshow/elle-fanning-june-vogue-cover-photos-annie-leibovitz#6

Comments

  1. I am looking forward to seeing this Saturday. I heard this version is told from the women’s POV, and of course there’s Nicole.

  2. I’m torn whether I want to see this or not. It does look interesting but I’m not sure I want to set myself up for disappointment. Haha. Maybe if it ends up on Netflix it would make it onto my rainy day list

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