Saturday, 15 July 2017

The Beguiled Film Review

Been a bit slow in posting my film reviews recently but I saw The Beguiled directed by Sofia Coppola yesterday. Readers will remember that Sofia won Best Director for the film at Cannes.

In a steamy Virginian, much like the setting in teen movie Beautiful Creatures starring Alden Ehrenreich, is Miss Farnsworth's Seminary. Miss Martha played by the virtuous Nicole Kidman keeps the school open for girls who have nowhere to go, while the Civil War rages around them. With just five students and one teacher the school is a very tranquil Greek temple with it's vestal virgins. Except for the sound of cannons in the distance.

Into this drowsy tranquilness stumbles Corporal John McBurney, an injured, runaway Union soldier played by Colin Farrell. Young Amy picking mushrooms finds him under a tree bleeding to death, Oona Laurence from last year's Pete's Dragon is compassionate towards the enemy soldier and helps him back to the school.

Miss Martha decides they will nurse him until he is well enough to be picked up by the Confederate patrols; so his injured leg is cleaned and the wound stitched up.

The new arrival changes the structure of the school and the residents begin wearing their best frocks and jewellery. And take to stopping by Corporal McBurney's room. Kirsten Dunst is Miss Edwina the girl's prim teacher and Elle Fanning is Alicia. All undone buttons and at the age where she's just discovering herself, and the potential of the other sex. And here in the middle of all the preening and pouting is this exotic handsome man.

And of course John loves the attention, far away from the misery and death of the war. He's struck by just how beautiful one is, tells another not to tell anyone else but she's his favourite, might run away with another. And John looks like he'll have his choice of the virgin fruit. But there can be far worse things than fighting in a man's war. And hell hath no fury than a woman scorned.

With shades at times of the sweep of Gone With The Wind, the film was beautiful and the costumes by Stacey Battat gorgeous. Sofia may with this film be fuelling the current fashion for modest dressing. With a Picnic at Hanging Rock style dread and an art house film's vampire bite. Which I would quite have liked. In the middle of the Civil War imagine a school of waiting virgin vampires. But I guess that will be another film. But overall I enjoyed it with it's sly sexual frustration and Southern style Gothic.

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