Kathryn Vale (Lena Olin) is a reclusive ex-movie star with a dark secret and a daughter hoping to follow in her mother's movie-star footsteps. When Kathryn attempts to make a career ... See full summary »
After moving with her mother to a small town, a teenager finds that an accident happened in the house at the end of the street. Things get more complicated when she befriends a boy who was the only survivor of the accident.
The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2010 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year. See more »
On two occasions there are "Zippo" lighters shown and used. The movie takes place in 1929. The "Zippo" company was not founded until 1932 (per their website). See more »
Hell, that dog's bigger than that. I thought you said there were panthers here.
I ain't seen a panther in these mountains for nine years.
What about the carcass we found up in Noland? Something mauled that.
That weren't no panther. Chest weren't torn open. They eat the heart first.
You find me an honest-to-God panther to hunt, and I'll give you a $20 gold piece.
If there's a panther still around here it's likely touched by the devil. They end up hunting you.
Well, I want one.
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Whatever resulted Serena can be enigmatic. Visually, the movie has a lot of beautiful shots. There's also great talents among the cast. The story seems like it is meant for a powerful tragedy, but these assets however lead to a rather dreary, unfocused drama, that doesn't quite live up to its ambition. Even with the looks of a grand and dazzling piece of cinema, the film doesn't come close with that worth. And it's a truly frustrating thing to look at a movie with such strong potential become a strange mess.
The story is basically an old fashioned American drama about a man, who manages a timber industry, oppresses his ambition that leads to numerous unfortunate events. The core here is a love story in which its romance is often nonexistent, we hardly get to see how they fully develop their relationship. But there is still an interesting growth within these rich details. But the movie is too scattered with various subplots that each takes over the entirety. There is too many conflicts, like they are mostly separated into a whole new different story, unable to say a single or definite point. The third act becomes a weird flood of consequences that doesn't necessarily gain any deserving depth.
There is so much going on with the story, the film also manages to shift it into several tones. It goes to art-house calmness, a showy drama, and then even has a preposterous climax. The worst of it indeed never fits in to its stunning production values. The film seems to be too reliant on what it has. It has captivating cinematography, impressive production, and even the actors are just doing what they believe they can do to make this movie work. Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper are the main attraction here, while they try to bring something to the table, the movie remains to be dreary for not letting the two have an actual engaging moment together. The pacing is reasonably slow, but sometimes it becomes an obligation than another moment to thoughtfully breathe.
Serena is a pretty strange film to encounter, one that has its best potentials fall apart into a surprisingly dull cinema. It's still fascinating to see what it has: great cast, striking images, richly defined context, and gripping drama (if only it has more time to actually develop them), but it really doesn't have an exact intention. And the story keeps on going, still failing to be actually engaging. This is an obvious lesson about creating cinematic drama, when things needed real definition on what's going on and who the characters are, than just throwing them away with stuff that could gloss over its half- baked narrative. Even the presence of the ever appealing Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper couldn't overlook the entire film's unimaginable flaws.
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