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Movie Breakdown: The Beguiled

June 29, 2017

Film

Pre-Screening Stance:

Lost In Translation is one of my favorite movies ever, so I’ll gladly line up for anything that Sofia Coppola does for the rest of time.  Obsessions aside, I actually do think The Beguiled looks pretty good.  Plus it was well-received at Cannes, which can occasionally mean something.

Post-Screening Ramble:

I really enjoyed The Beguiled.  The film takes place during the Civil War, and it revolves around a wounded Union soldier who seeks help at an all-female Southern boarding school.  At first all is well, but it’s not long before the presence of the charming Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell) sends his caregivers into a fervor.  There’s a lot of pent up energy, resentment and sadness buried in the ladies (both young and old) that populate the school, and McBurney pulls it out of all of them.  Writer/director Sofia Coppola is smart though, and she doesn’t just let The Beguiled turn into some sort of over the top soap opera.  No, her film is made up of nerves, jealous glances, defensive postures and judgemental mumbles.  She wants you pay attention, to be patient, and to let yourself soak in the desperate atmosphere she’s created.  I think this may be one of my favorite films by her.

If you want something quieter than what’s currently blowing up theaters, then I think you should seek out The Beguiled.  It’s beautifully shot (seriously, it looks like an actual live Southern painting), has great performances (super big ups to Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning), and it’ll make your brain and nerves tumble.

One Last Thought:

Elle Fanning is an interesting actress.  She plays a lot of the same type of characters, but somehow she puts just enough twist on each them to keep things fresh.  It’s honestly really impressive.  Side note, what happened to her sister?

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