Friday, June 30, 2017

The Beguiled: My take on the movie ... bewitched, bothered and betrayed by Colin Farrell.


Is it too easy to say I was beguiled by The Beguiled? As utterly enchanted by this group of giggling girls and women who fall under the spell of Colin Farrell's John McBurney as I was by the handsome devil Colin Farrell himself. Who wouldn't fall in love with him, so helpless, so handsome, so sweet and appreciative of their small attentions, their efforts to charm him?


I was swept off my feet from the first shot, of little Amy (Oona Laurence) humming a sweet song as she walks along a gloriously shot tree shrouded path bathed in the mist of an early summer morning. Her initial fear when she encounters the wounded soldier, his charming Irish-accented response, a quick and understandable friendship forms between the little girl and the wounded soldier she finds in the woods. 


Is it McBurney's fault he shakes things up when Amy takes him back to the seminary where Miss Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman) & Miss Edwina (Kirsten Dunst) look after their few remaining students? His fault they tumble over themselves to get his attention? Dress up in their Sunday best, putting on rarely worn jewelry to catch his eye? As women in 2017, we may pretend we're immune to this kind of thing but don't we all really know what one handsome man can do when plonked down amidst a group of females? The fox in the henhouse, so to speak. I assume it's much the same as the effect one pretty woman has on a group of men. Who hasn't been susceptible to the charms of a handsome devil, a smile, a cock of the head, a flirtatious stare you think is meant only for you. 


McBurney goes further, reading these women like open books, instinctively knowing his way into each heart. "You don't belong here" he tells Kirsten Dunst's restless Miss Edwina. "You're so brave" he compliments Kidman's competently in-charge Miss Farnsworth. "You're my favorite" he tells young Amy. To Miss Alicia played by Elle Fanning, McBurney doesn't need to say a thing. A provocative teenager, learning about the power of her own sexuality, all she requires is the male gaze. She gets that and more. 


Seeing The Beguiled was like being beguiled—bewitched, bothered and bewildered—by Colin Farrell and then betrayed all in the course of an hour and a half. And if you've ever found yourself seduced and then discarded you may know the urge to get your revenge. If you've ever gone that far, you probably know too, the sad and hollow feeling you have when it's all over. The old adage is hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. That may be true but it rarely leads to satisfaction. It doesn't change the basic betrayal. 

That's the up and down of The Beguiled. Lovely, lyrical, captivating like the sweetest summer romance, then the turn, the violent and harrowing climax and the anticlimax, mournful and thought-provoking. 

I'm not sure I understand the marketing concept behind the #VengefulBitches hashtag, as if the ending is deserving of a celebration. There really is nothing to celebrate.

Directed by Sofia Coppola, beautifully shot by Philippe LeSourd from a script by Coppola, Albert Maltz and
Irene Kamp, The Beguiled is based on the book originally title A Painted Devil by Thomas Cullinan. 


Did I like The Beguiled? 3 1/2 Apple Pies worth. In fact so much so that I'm going to see it again with my husband tomorrow. Is The Beguiled on your must see list? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


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