MOVIE REVIEW – The Beguiled
Review by Geoff Jenke
The Beguiled is set in 1864, three months into the American Civil War. The film takes place at a Southern girl’s boarding school with five girls who remain because they have nowhere else to go, and their two teachers. They live in their own world, deprived of any male influences.
When one of the girls discovers an injured enemy soldier in the woods, it is decided the “Christian” thing to do is to nurse him back to health before letting him go. As the soldier, John McBurney, recovers, he soon becomes the subject of fascination for the girls and women of the house. Sexual tensions and rivalries arise between the girls.
If the movie sounds familiar, it is because this is a remake of the 1971 film starring Clint Eastwood. This remake by Sofia Coppola is a lot darker and more unsettling than Clint’s original version. Tension builds slowly as the girls all try to make an impression with the soldier.
The cast is tremendous with Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst playing the roles of the teachers. Colin Farrell plays the enemy soldier and is especially good playing Jekyll and Hyde characters. Elle Fanning must also get a special mention as the eldest of the pupils, who is also lusting after the soldier.
It is always a risk remaking a film but Sophia Coppola does do it justice. Great care has gone into the costumes and imagery of the film. Interestingly, there is no musical score in the first two thirds of the film, but this just adds to the intrigue that is going on.
The movie, clocking in at just over 90 minutes, doesn’t out stay its welcome. It is a slow burner to start with but is a relatively gripping film once it gets going.
Just remember the words “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”.
Directed by Sofia Coppola
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Colin Farrell, Elle Fanning