The Beguiled: Entertaining, yes. Satisfying, not.
779 Rating (5)
We saw this one on July 3rd thinking we would avoid all the crumb crunchers going to see Despicable Me 3. It worked, no children were present and all was well……until the movie ended. Nestled in with smuggled drinks and a purchased small popcorn the cellphones were silenced and we sat back in the air condition to be entertained. You know, what you’re paying for. Entertainment.
The movie is absolutely beautiful. Filmed in Louisiana, the scenery was gorgeous. As soon as it opened and Miss Amy was gathering mushrooms you see a road encased in live oak trees, which being from Savannah, we arrogantly think this is the entrance to Wormsloe. As far as my research tells me none of this was filmed in Savannah. Always a strike when you don’t film a southern movie in Savannah. Anyway, the entire film’s cinema photography is outstanding. It is entirely shot in 35 mm. The movie seems dark but in these civil war times it would be would be dark with all of the live oak trees, the lack of electricity and only natural sunlight and candles to light the way. The home used in the film was a beautiful plantation house called the Madewood Plantation in Napoleon, Louisiana. It is absolutely right for the film. In the movie the home is a girl’s school so you never see what may have been fields or barns. The tools used throughout the film miraculously appear in Collin Farrell’s hands. One has to assume this was once a working plantation that would have barns, fields and slave quarters. None of this is depicted. In my mind this takes away from the film. If they would have shown that a major farming operation was reduced to a school for 6 girls it would have helped with the feeling of helplessness and loss because of the crippling war. You are left to guess as to how this transition took place.
Here’s the meat. Collin Farrell is a wounded Union Soldier discovered in the woods by one of the school girls gathering mushrooms. He befriends her and she guides him back to the girl’s school where the other six women are more than happy for the male to arrive. Although they start off talking trash about him they are all falling in love at the same time. Jealously ensues and here’s your plot. Who is going to be the first to conquer Mount Farrell? By the way Collin plays Corporal John McBurney, an Irish native who got a $300 payment to join the union army. He had gotten separated from his troop in battle and chose to run into the woods. Behavior that seems fitting for a union soldier. He is charming and soft spoken with impeccable manners. All of this behavior lures each one of the girls into a trance and you can tell the air is getting thicker by the minute with lust and scheming to be the winner of such a prize. I’m not going to blog the obvious and give out all of the details because by this point it is so obvious you can write the review yourself. Its love and lust with multiple women. Somebody has to die.
How we get to the dying and all of the questions left unanswered is where the problem is. The movie is short with a runtime of only 93 minutes. There was plenty of time to tell more tale. I am aware this is a remake of an older movie starring Clint Eastwood and that is based on the novel by Thomas Cullinan. But come on, give us something to chew on. It is all so obvious there is not a hint of a twist. Just when you think there might be a good twist coming they straighten it out in 10 seconds. More could be told and more could happen to give up the meat. Brief research indicates there are characters and storylines cut out of the novel and first film offering. This is probably due to political correctness. This movie could have been so much more.
The acting was wonderful. Even the youngest girls were superb in their performance. Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst never disappoint. They do their jobs 100%. Of the whole crew Collin leaves a little to be desired with some overacting but it’s not bad. Just no Oscar to be had. They meshed together as a crew and this movie requires subtle looks and gestures which they managed beautifully.
So I tried not to spoil it too bad but I think you get the pic. A nice Saturday afternoon Netflix movie to watch but not worth the $10 at the local show. We went to supper afterward and had much discussion on this matter. There was so much to offer but it didn’t show up. It’s like going to grandmas at Thanksgiving, walking through the kitchen and seeing the turkey but when 2pm comes you get spam and chips.