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
During the first dining scene, three out of four students hold their fork with their right hand. It is highly unlikely they would have not been taught that proper table manners demand you hold your fork with your left hand, as it is done by the two adult teachers. See more »
To Beguile: "to lead by deception"; "to engage the interest of by or as if by guile"; "to deprive (someone) of something by guile or deceit".
While conjecturing a position and a review for this film I realised that he Beguiled is more than a moniker for its characters: it is one for the film itself. You will find yourself simultaneously marveled by the ravishing cinematography and production design, seduced by its contained and bewildering performances and puzzled by its apparent dull and stale pacing. True to form, Coppola once again deceits the viewers into believing they've watched something rather stale and uneventful, when in fact the unsaid and the hinted upon is more powerful, substantial and engaging than you were aware.
A circumspect approach to a contained setting and a suggestion to a wider reality, for both the historic background and for the characters themselves, the Beguiled urges the viewer not to immediately praise or dismiss it, but rather to delve on it(s) subject matter(s), digest them and talk about them. That is why once again Coppola proves herself to be a singular auteur.
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