I was provided an all-expenses trip to L.A. via Focus Features to screen The Beguiled and interview cast members. Opinions are my own.
I had never heard of The Beguiled when the first trailer hit my inbox. I watched it and was instantly intrigued and ready to see more. Just take a look at it for yourself and you’ll see why…
So now my dilemma was, do I go ahead and watch the original version before seeing this new one, do I wait and watch it after the fact, or do I not watch it at all?
Since I had been invited out to L.A. by Focus Features to screen the movie in advance and interview the cast as well as director, Sofia Coppola, I chose to watch the original after seeing this remake.
After watching both versions what are my thoughts?
About The Beguiled
The story unfolds during the Civil War, at a Southern girls’ boarding school. Its sheltered young women take in an injured enemy soldier. As they provide refuge and tend to his wounds, the house is taken over with sexual tension and dangerous rivalries, and taboos are broken in an unexpected turn of events.
Both movies are based on the 1966 book by Thomas Cullinan. The 2017 version is directed by Sofia Coppola and stars Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning.
The Beguiled Characters (2017 Version)
Nicole Kidman is magnificent as Miss Martha, the headmistress of the all girls school. The girls have been left there for various reasons all in hopes of safety from the invading Yankee army. While at the school they are still expected to complete their studies and become upstanding ladies of society.
Kirsten Dunst is fantastic as Edwina and you will not see even one of her famous dimples throughout this movie. Edwina Dabney is the school teacher and assistant to Miss Martha. She has a lot of repressed emotions, but is strong and wants more than anything in the world to “leave this place.”
Elle Fanning was a surprise to me as a sultry teen siren, one who is anxious to act on those teenage desires with what may be the only man she has had contact with in years.
Oona Laurence played the young Amy who discovered Corporal McBurney out in the woods. She was one of my favorite characters. Amy was so sweet and real, yet when crossed a little vengeful side comes right out in perfection. You may also remember Oona from her roles in Bad Moms and Pete’s Dragon, she is one of my favorite young actresses!
Colin Farrell was the man of the hour, or shall we say, of everyone’s desires. He was the perfect choice to play the injured Corporal McBurney and manage the interest of all these ladies vying for his affections. And it’s Colin Farrell — with an Irish Accent.
The Beguiled Review
When interviewing Sofia Coppola she mentioned that the 1971 version of The Beguiled is told from a macho, guy point of view and she wanted to make it a woman’s point of view. While I didn’t necessarily see either movie as having a distinct point of view, there are many differences between the two.
While I do recommend watching The Beguiled (it’s worth watching at least once), I have mixed feelings about it overall. The whole movie is beautifully shot and you’ll love the styling, the underscore (or lack thereof) that heightens the tension in just the right way, and the acting is great. What is missing for me is the emotion, the sexual tension is too understated, and the characters seem to make choices that make no sense due to a lack of backstory or because the storyline progresses too vaguely and is too subtle to pick up on the important nuances of each character.
The long and the short of it is that you’ll spend 94 minutes being intrigued and drawn into this story about young women scrambling for the affections of the wounded Union Soldier now under their care, but it could stand to be a little steamier and build up the tension just a bit more.
The Beguiled opens everywhere June 30th. Be sure to go see it and tell me your thoughts!