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The Beguiled Review

28 Jun

The Beguiled feels like restrained madness, a melodrama with emotions that feel cold and calculated at the same time as heightened. Everything from its costuming to its limited score to its cinematography feed into Coppola’s vision of this Civil War-era household, and the mood conveyed by its common establishing shot–a hazy mist cloaking the grounds–is sustained through the story that subsequently unfolds. This is a tale of sexuality and desire set against both a historical and contemporary backdrop, and Coppola approaches the film by first carefully calibrating the environment; then, she allows the women and those desires to simmer within the repression and mundanity that their household represents.

The question is whether this approach leads to anything fruitful. For the most part, it results in a darkly comedic pressure cooker of a situation driven by some talented performers–Nicole Kidman and Elle “will be a legend someday” Fanning are probably the most fun to watch–and it’s fairly intriguing seeing how the man who enters their world means very different things to these very different people. The film itself, however, strays a bit too close to becoming the dullness it portrays, even when things are picking up steam. It might be explained in part by Coppola’s filmmaking choices, but it is better explained by the thin characterization across the board. None of these people are really more than a collection of one or two prominent character traits, so seeing all these dueling dynamics isn’t nearly as interesting as it should be.

GRADE: B

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One Response to “The Beguiled Review”

  1. Jay June 29, 2017 at 9:55 am #

    Restrained madness? I think now you’ve beguiled ME.

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