Rural England, 1865. Katherine is stifled by her loveless marriage to a bitter man twice her age, whose family are cold and unforgiving. When she embarks on a passionate affair with a young worker on her husband's estate, a force is unleashed inside her, so powerful that she will stop at nothing to get what she wants.Written by
As "Lady Macbeth" (2016 release from the UK; 90 min.) opens, we see a young woman (we later learn her name is Katherine) getting married in what looks to be 19th century England. On her wedding night, she is left untouched by her (older) husband. Her father-in-law, also living there, is equally unpleasant. Katherine is utterly lonely and depressed. Then one day, both her husband and father-in-law must go out of town for business. It's not long before Katherine strikes up a torrid affair with one of the groomsmen. At this point we're about 10 min. into the movie. What will become Katherine and her lover? To tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: you may think this is yet another movie adaptation of the Shakespeare play, but in fact this is based on the Russian novel Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District by Nicolai Leskov. I will leave it to the Shakespeare experts to comment how different this story is from Shakespeare's. What I can say is this: the movie is very much story-driven. Things happen, and happen fast, and it doesn't let up! There is hardly any music in the film. Another unusual fact: the movie does not have a title. There are no opening credit, and when the end titles start, it simply says "Based on Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District by Nicolai Leskov", and that's it. (The Katherine character is regularly referred to as "Mrs. Lester" or maybe that should be "Leicester".) The star of the movie for sure is Florence Pugh, an up-and-coming British actress, whom I can assure you we will see plenty more of (she reminds me of a young Kate Winslett). Played by Pugh, Katherine is passionate and ruthless. Last but not lest, the movie was filmed (according to the end titles) in Northumberland, the area just below the border with Scotland, just beautiful.
"Lady MacBeth" premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival to positive buzz. It finally opened this weekend at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati, and I couldn't wait to see it. The Friday early evening screening where I saw this at was attended dismally (4 people, including myself), which does not bode well for this movie, considering it was the opening night. That's a shame. Maybe this will gather a larger audience through Amazon Instant Video, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray. If you like a strong story-driven movie with great acting, you could do a lot worse than this particular "Lady MacBeth"!
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