Director Sofia Coppola has followed in her family’s footsteps and has been praised for her visions. Her latest film has received high acclaim and won her the Best Director title at the Cannes Film Festival. The Beguiled has an interesting premise, but it didn’t quite develop into enough of a compelling story to keep me interested the whole time. The film seems to be more like an episode of The Bachelor than a serious drama.
The film takes place three years into the Civil War in the heart of Virginia. The lives of the few young women living at an all-girl’s school get turned upside down when one of the girls brings a wounded Union soldier to the house. Since the two women and five young girls have been essentially cut off from the outside world due to the world, they haven’t had the company of a man’s presence in quite some time. Each girl and woman essentially thinks that the soldier should be theirs because he talks to them. I guess the purpose of the film is to show the jealousy of abandoned females and how crazy they can be when a foreign man joins their company.
Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell star as the head of the school and the Union soldier respectively. Kidman’s strict Southern headmistress is emotionally flat for most of the film, until Farrell’s charm starts growing on her. Farrell seems to crack Kidman’s tough shell, which was the most interesting development of the film. Instead of having his sights set on Kidman, Farrell goes after Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning, who is at least half the age of Farrell’s character. Dunst’s character can’t get over the first man who has ever looked at her, while Fanning wants all of Farrell’s attention for herself.
The funny part of all of this is that Farrell loves all the attention and doesn’t really care that all the girls want him. The love square eventually goes wrong, as expected, but not in the way that was expected based on the trailer. The story takes a long time to develop and only gets good towards the end. Once things take a turn for the better and become more interesting, the film is over. The climax is very exciting, yet the rest of the movie is overdramatic and melodramatic at the same time.
I didn’t have any problems with the acting or the directing. The acting wasn’t anything superb, but it was good. The directing was very good, but it certainly is not the best I have seen this year. I think other critics are giving too much praise to The Beguiled simply for the director and actors names. The film is hard to get involved in and is a slow burner. Most people would probably not have the patience to wait over an hour for something to finally happen. I was hoping for more from this film considering the buzz around it, but it didn’t deliver. Disappointment is the best way to describe my feelings towards The Beguiled.
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