I did not know until after I saw Sophia Copolla’s ‘The Beguiled’ that it is a remake of a 1971 film (starring Clint Eastwood) which was based on a 1966 novel by Thomas Cullinan. In fact, I did not know much about the film, even though I saw the trailer numerous times. I remember thinking it’s some sort of a Southern Gothic horror film, so I had trepidation about seeing it. Alas, it opened around the time I was going on vacation, so I conveniently filed the movie out of my mind….until now, when I have finally seen it.
To be honest, I don’t really know how I feel about it. My first reaction is that I am left cold by it. This is a story of a bunch of Southern girl students all in one house, when one of the girls chances upon a wounded Yankee soldier in the woods, and takes the man home. Under the supervision of Martha (Nicole Kidman) they take care of the soldier, until circumstances change the balance of power in the house.
There’s a lot of subtlety in the film, and Kidman delivers a truly fine performance (I mean, is there anything this woman cannot do?) but I was looking for more story here. But then perhaps I am missing the point of the whole film. This is probably the kind of movie that needs to be seen several times in order to fully grasp what it intends to say but sadly, I don’t know if I have more investment in the film to do that. But I do like Coppola’s light directorial touch, and the film is very pretty experience, with great cinematography that makes you feel like you are inside the house.