Rated R

93 Minutes

Released June 30

The story of The Beguiled shows in full detail how we are often subject to the basest of human instincts regardless of our surroundings. A Yankee soldier, having been wounded in battle and unable to walk, lies in a peaceful wooded area in Virginia. It’s the final year of the Civil War. The thunder of cannon can be heard in the distance. A girl foraging for mushrooms in the woods finds the soldier. She takes him to her residence, the Farnsworth Seminary for Girls, which seems to be an idyllic oasis in the midst of the horrors of the war. The occupants of the seminary are the head mistress, played perfectly by Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst who does a great job as the innocent, repressed teacher, and Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice, Addison Riecke, Emma Howard and Elle Fanning as the five students. They all care for the soldier, “Corporal McBurney,” so that he can regain his health. Colin Farrell is wonderful as McBurney.

The style of this film reflects a Gothic novel – dark, foreboding and dreary, full of repressed emotions and angst underneath a show of propriety. The pace is slow and deliberate and never wavers until the end. The environment is still, tranquil and quiet, with the sounds of war echoing in the distance. Everything is at a standstill. Nothing seems to move forward. The pace of the film is slow and deliberate and never wavers until the ending climax. The residence of the seminary, once a thriving plantation, is subtly decaying – peeling paint, overgrown vegetation, a feeling of dull soft light and muted colors permeating every scene. The cinematography by Phillipe Le Sourd reflects these qualities.

Director Sofia Coppola won Best Director at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival for The Beguiled. She has remade the 1971 version of the movie to reflect the story from the women’s point of view. To her credit, she has not fallen into the trap of portraying McBurney as evil. In the end, who carries the guilt? Everyone.

 

 

Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which is the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people. She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. kboole@gmail.com. For previously published reviews see https://kwboole.wordpress.com

 

 

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