Film Review: The Beguiled (2017)

2017 in Cinema:

The Beguiled, 2017

Directed by: Sofia Coppola

Starring: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning

 

The Beguiled is an America drama film written and directed by Sofia Coppola, the daughter of Francis Ford Coppola, based on a girls’ school, isolated away in Virginia during the American Civil War. By this point most of the students and teachers have left, leaving just two teachers, Martha Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman) and Edwina Morrow (Kirsten Dunst), and five students. One day, while out mushroom-picking, Amy (Oona Laurence) stumbles across a wounded soldier, Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell) and helps bring him back to the school where they all nurse him back to health. During his stay, however, he becomes attracted to, and attracted by, Edwina, Martha and a student, Alicia (Elle Fanning), and each subtly fight for his affections.

Admittedly not a strong plot, the acting and suspense drive this film along. Farrell, Kidman and Dunst all play their roles effectively, as well as the back-up cast, serving a well acted film, with a decent scrip and decent presentation. With Corporal John being an enemy to them, it’s also nice to see their attitude towards him change as he remains in their house for a while. Agreeing that despite the ongoing war, not all the enemies are necessarily enemies, and each come to view Corporal John as a friend. The sexual tension, throughout, also plays out to a comedic role, as we are made aware of all their interests early on, but each woman is blissfully unaware of each others’ attractions.

Carrying on with the plot, however, the main dramatic moment towards the end came with a somewhat unbelievable factor. The action turned one of the cast into the villain of the piece, but the action which lead to that didn’t come across as what would have been expected, considering the time era it was set. However a steady plot-pacing, with a somewhat funny and suspenseful atmosphere throughout kept this film going. And its setting and presentation also look very good, with their dresses and the house’s feel matching what would be expected of 19th-century America. Overall a fairly decent film, if nothing spectacular.

 

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