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Serena (2014)

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In Depression-era North Carolina, the future of George Pemberton's timber empire becomes complicated when he marries Serena.


Susanne Bier


Christopher Kyle (screenplay), Ron Rash (based on the book by)
4,348 ( 172)

Jennifer Lawrence Through the Years

Take a look back at Jennifer Lawrence's career on and off the screen.

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1 win. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Bradley Cooper ... George Pemberton
Jennifer Lawrence ... Serena Pemberton
Rhys Ifans ... Galloway
Toby Jones ... Sheriff McDowell
David Dencik ... Buchanan
Sean Harris ... Campbell
Ana Ularu ... Rachel Hermann
Sam Reid ... Vaughn
Conleth Hill ... Doctor Chaney
Charity Wakefield ... Agatha
Douglas Hodge ... Horace Kephart
Kim Bodnia ... Abe Hermann
Christian McKay ... Boston bank manager (as Christian Mckay)
Philip Zandén ... Calhoun (as Philip Zanden)
Ned Dennehy ... Ledbetter


In Depression-era North Carolina, the future of George Pemberton's timber empire becomes complicated when he marries Serena.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Some loves can never let you go.


Drama | History | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official Site | See more »


Czech Republic | France | USA



Release Date:

26 February 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Falling See more »

Filming Locations:

Czech Republic See more »


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$100,090, 29 March 2015, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$176,305, 10 May 2015
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Shot in 2012, after Silver Linings Playbook (2012) wrapped production. The film premiered two years later at the London Film Festival. 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 »


[first lines]
Pemberton: Hell, that dog's bigger than that. I thought you said there were panthers here.
Galloway: I ain't seen a panther in these mountains for nine years.
Pemberton: What about the carcass we found up in Noland? Something mauled that.
Galloway: That weren't no panther. Chest weren't torn open. They eat the heart first.
Pemberton: You find me an honest-to-God panther to hunt, and I'll give you a $20 gold piece.
Galloway: If there's a panther still around here it's likely touched by the devil. They end up hunting you.
Pemberton: Well, I want one.
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Beignet Cakewalk
Written by Jeff Ford and Michael Esneault (as Mike Esneault)
Courtesy of FirstCom Music
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Serena is Sad Sad Sad for a Number of Reasons
4 April 2015 | by twilliams76See all my reviews

Hoping that lightning and/or movie magic would happen thrice, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence (both of Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle) team-up for a third time in, Serena, a Susanne Bier movie adaptation of a Ron Rash novel. In their previous two efforts, they were directed by David O. Russell who has proved to be a master at coaxing great performances out of his actors (his latest two films picked up 8 acting nominations between them!); and although neither actor does poorly here, Bier proves to be a much lesser director as the film lacks focus and neither multiple-Oscar nominated actor (she has won one) turn in award-worthy performances in this film.

Serena is titled after Lawrence's character, a tragic Colorado lumber heiress whose entire family succumbed to a house fire when she was merely 12 years old. At an upscale equestrian event in Boston in the late 1920's, she catches the eye of a driven and ambitious lumber baron (wannabe) played by Bradley Cooper. After an oh-so-brief flirtation, the pair are married and they return to his native North Carolina where he owns many acres of land in the Great Smokies. He also has prospects in the the wilds of Brazil, and as long as he can make a profit here in the states him and his young wife can move to South America and live a very comfortable life.

Only, secrets from his past come to light and Serena fears losing him and her new, secure life (she invested all of her money in his holdings) ... and things don't go smoothly.

Costarring Toby Jones (Infamous), Rhys Ifans (Vanity Fair), Sean Harris ('71), Ana Ularu (Outbound), Christian McKay (Rush) and Sam Reid (Belle), Serena is a beautifully photographed film (I'll give 'em that) with credible performances from the entire cast; but the story proves to be too expansive to fit into the confines of the film's runtime as characters begin making too many seemingly uncharacteristic choices for no believable reasons. I'm assuming the book expands a bit more on motivation and character back-stories to be acceptable ... much of that is left out of the cinematic Serena.

The film has lofty ambitions and does achieve a few of them; but the editing and/or screenplay are just too weak. I will again note how beautiful some of the images Serena gives its audience are -- fog- covered mountains and valleys are breathtakingly beautiful. The film also has a nice eye for period detail but much of that is lost by trying to keep track of the ever-expanding story.

Serena wanted to be great ... and it had a decent chance at being so; but it just is not to be. It is tragic.

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