Three years into the American Civil War, in 1864, the dilapidated mansion of Miss Martha Farnsworth's Seminary for Young Ladies is still running, occupied by the matriarch, a teacher and five students in Spanish moss-draped Virginia. However, when a young student stumbles upon Corporal John McBurney, a wounded Union deserter on the verge of death, the already frail balance of things will be disrupted, as the hesitant headmistress decides to take him in to heal from his injury. Little by little, as the unwelcome guest arouses an uneasy sexual excitation among the women of the secluded boarding school, it is not before long that they will find themselves competing for the alluring man's favour. Undoubtedly, this handsome devil is a manipulator, nevertheless, will the ladies stay forever beguiled by his charm? Written by
The cast went through several lessons during filming. They had a sewing teacher, a dancing teacher, took etiquette classes, corset training lessons and had to cook and eat meals together. A Civil War reenactor demonstrated how to dress wounds, and a priest explained prayers from the Book of Matthew and Sofia Coppola distributed an antebellum etiquette book, titled "How to Be a Good Southern Lady". See more »
Miss Martha asks for and receives cartridges for her pistol from a passing Confederate officer. Her pistol is an 1848 Colt Dragoon percussion pistol, loaded separately with powder, ball and percussion cap, not a contained cartridge. See more »
The Beguiled is a yawn-fest. Or, act two is a great time for a nap
Honestly, I can appreciate a slow building drama that takes its time to build characters. Unfortunately, this remake of the film gives us very little in the way of conflict or tension after the setup and introduction of the characters.
There is some decent acting here from the cast, but I found it nearly impossible to see any detail in their faces due to the choice of shooting in very low light or artificially creating the effect in post. While I can't place blame entirely on the film as our local theater may have had issues with their projection system. Still, I prefer to see the expressions in actor's faces, otherwise I might as well be listening to a radio play.
The film could have been a full stop brighter and adding some fill light on the faces still would have allowed the look to be dark and drab as it was apparently intended.
By the time we get to the third act we still aren't rooting for our protagonist and frankly it's not completely clear until the climax that it's supposed to be Kidman's character. The editing is unimpressive.
This remake of "The Beguiled" isn't anything special. I suspect the jurors who awarded Coppola "Cannes Best Director Award" must have not have seen the film. For me it was best summed up by a phrase I overheard by a nearby audience member, "Is that it?". Yes... I'm afraid so.
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