The Beguiled – Review

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The Beguiled is the new film written and directed by Sofia Coppola, a very important surname, based on Thomas P. Cullinan’s 1966 novel. The story is setted in America,

exactly in Virginia during the Civil War. Of course, for those of you who do not know it, Virginia is one of the states that has split off from the United States because it wanted to maintain slavery. More precisely, the story’s setted in a women’s college, which should be closed for the summer, but remained open for people who do not have a place to return because of the war. So there are only five female students, a teacher, played by Kirsten Dunst, and the owner, Miss Farnsworth, played by Nicole Kidman. One day, a student, Amy, strolling through the woods, finds a wounded Nordicist who presents himself to her as the Caporale John McBurney. Amy brings the corporal to the institute and, even if at the beginning he is received badly (many times they call him yankee), the girls, as good Christians, decide to make him stay until he recovers. His presence will cause a great deal of turmoil among the seven women who, not used to having a man among themselves, will do everything they can to get his attention.

I liked The Beguiled, I think it’s a good film. As always, you can make a distinction between the first and second part, that are very different. First of all, the film is very slow, especially in the first part. In the first hour, there are the girls who compete for McBurney’s attention creating a humorous, fun situation. In addition, there are given a lot of information about the corporal, and we understand what kind of person he is and the girls understand it too. So, in this first part, very important issues are dealt with: the falsity of war and prejudices, diversity, jealousy. In addition, the encounter between the man and the girls can be considered as a peace, since they belong to two different factions: he is a northernist and they are Sudists. Girls become attached to the man and so an idyll is created. A very peaceful situation.

In the last half an hour, then in what can be described as the second part, this is upset. Attention, it is upset in a good way, there is a reason behind it and also a message. The film is not upset, but only that situation. This means how fragile peace is and that, despite all efforts, prejudices are always there in our minds waiting to reveal themselves at the right time. I liked this oart more than the previous perhaps because you enter into a more thriller atmosphere, which, personally, is a genre I like.

In addition to the story, beautiful and with a very important message nowadays, there are many beautiful things. The cast. Let’s say that it was very well balanced, the most beautiful scenes are those where there are all members of the cast, so dinners or moments of prayer. Direction. Coppola has been good and deserved the prize she won in Cannes. Working with children, even if few, is always very difficult. I don’t say she’s the best director ever, but good. The scenography is beautiful, which is practically only the school, but I liked it. Maybe becuase the school seems the Pantheon and I love Greek art.

The sound is okay, but personally I would have added some more music in the first part, sometimes there is too much silence. The sound editing, on the other hand, could have been done better. There are times when the noises of war are heard in the school, but it seemed like music. If there had not been no smoke shots I would never have understood that it was the fighting. The idea of inserting cricket noise is beautiful, after all the school is in the open countryside. Last but not least, cinematography that is not bad, but too static. There are few frame changes, too few.

Another thing that does not work much in the screenplay is the deception, which is revealed to us before it is put into practice. Although the moment when this deception is made is very nice to see (the most beautiful cinematography of the whole film), I didn’t like to have revealed it before. In my opinion, they could hide it and create a setback.

The last thing, the slowness. The problem is not that the film is slow, many of the films I watch, and I like them, are slow. Arrival or Dunkirk are also slow. The problem is that you feel this slowness, which was not the case when I saw the two previously mentioned films. Both Arrival and Dunkirk last about two hours, the deception lasts an hour and a half, but it seemed longer to me. In my opinion, they should have made it lighter, in the sense of making this slowness less felt. This is a big disadvantage.

As always, the last words of the review are spent on the actors, which I repeat I liked for their great alchemy. Kidman, especially at the time of deception. A performance to observe because nomination for the Oscars is very likely. Kirsten Dunst and Colin Farrell have also been good, and they too are to be observed for a future nomination respectively as actress and actor in a supporting actor.

So, summing up, do I recommend it? Yes! Sure, it’s not a masterpiece, it’s a good movie, to watch absolutely.

Rating: 72/100

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