By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) –
The Beguiled is about a school for girls in the South and one day while one girl is out looking for mushrooms she comes across a Union soldier. They decide to nurse the soldier back to health and then decide whether to let him go or turn him over to the Confederates. This decision starts to become harder and harder until the climax. The Beguiled is a brilliant slow burner that pays off in the end.
Sofia Coppola is at the top of her game in this film. Every scene feels like it was meticulously rehearsed and redone until it was perfect. I liked her decision to not use a score. The music is very minimal and it works for the film. This made the audience attuned to every sound, piece of dialogue, and facial expression. Making the audience almost uneasy, which allows Sofia to play with the tension until the pot finally boils over. I definitely see a lot of awards headed Sofia’s way in this year’s awards circuit.
The cinematography is brilliant. The dimly lit sets were another tool Sofia used to keep pulling those tension wires tighter. People are almost taught by movies that bad things happen in the dark. So what bad thing is going to happen and when? This film is a slow build and the brilliant camerawork helps keep the tension tight. The film could fall apart and become boring, but the great camerawork, directing, and acting keep this slow burner engrossing until the very end.
The acting is also amazing, there’s really no weak role in the film. Elle Fanning is great, and Coppola and Kirsten Dunst’s pairing again is another homerun. Colin Farrell is wonderful as the poor Union soldier at the mercy of these Southern Women. Nicole Kidman is having a great year this year in TV and film and this might be her best role yet this year. She’s magnificent as Miss Martha, the head of this school for girls. Kidman’s ability to play equal parts Cold and Calculating and Compassionate was truly something to watch.
Sofia Coppola and Philippe Le Sourd’s (Director of Photography) ability to render the time period was truly brilliant. Also with the help of Stacey Battat’s costume design, they all made the film very authentic. It felt like we were dropped into the South during the Civil War. It was highly impressive to watch this, when some films could fall into the tropes of trying to render a certain time period. However, this felt much more like Barry Lyndon, where it almost seems like we are watching a living painting.
Colin Farrell did a great job in this film along with all of the other actors. However, I found his character to be annoying. I don’t know if that was Sofia’s decision because she wanted the audience to dislike him, but his irrationality towards the end was a little ridiculous.
The Beguiled is a meticulously styled period drama. If I was a betting man, I’d bet you’ll see this film with a few Oscar nominations come February.
The Beguiled (2017) Drinking Game
Do a Shot: every time Corporal McBurney flirts with a one of the women.
Take a Drink: every time they play music for him.
Do a Shot: for every scene where they’re eating.