The Beguiled

the-beguiled-poster_1200_1778_81_sThree years into the American Civil War and young Amy (Oona Lawrence) comes across a wounded Yankee soldier (Colin Farrell) whilst picking mushrooms. Taking pity on the enemy soldier she takes him back to her all girl school where sexual tension rises amongst the residents. Owner, Miss Martha (Nicole Kidman) veers between wanting to turn him over to the confederate troops and sharing a brandy with him whilst the eldest members Edwina (Kirsten Dunst) and Alicia (Elle Fanning) seem awakened by the attention.

Whilst this is a remake of a 1971 film of the same name starring Clint Eastwood and Geraldine Page I could never imagine that to be the case based on how quintessentially Sofia Coppola this film is. Coppola is the writer/director of The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation. Marie Antoinette, Somewhere and The Bling Ring. As with those films you get the following themes; beautiful, but woozy and dreamlike camera work, strong female lead roles and a somewhat detached and distant emotional connection to events.

The cinematography is beautiful, exteriors are full of sunlight drenched gardens, whilst interiors seem to be lit with natural candlelight or sunlight through windows. Dunst and Fanning, both Coppola film veterans now in their 3rd and 2nd outings respectively stand out amongst the cast. But, and it pains me to say it, this feels the most emotionally detached of all of her films and it has a massive impact on the enjoyment of the film. It feels as though we are voyeurs not completely aware of what is motivating these characters actions and as a result it feels like a cold and distant dream.

A film to technically admire, but not to love.

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