Author’s Note: Don’t watch the trailer to The Beguiled. It pretty much spoils the whole movie. Instead, going in blindly is what I would recommend.
Fans of Sofia Coppola’s films know what they are going to get every time she makes a film. Her films for the most part, are very good at creating a certain type of atmosphere. Coppala’s sixth feature film, follows suit. With The Beguiled, Coppola uses her nineteenth-century southern-gothic visuals to craft a remake that is very different from the 1971 original while still telling the same general story.
Coppola’s version of The Beguiled gives the story a more feminist point of view, rather than the Clint Eastwood version which felt much more masculine. Eastwood could and would not portray Corporal McBurney the way that Colin Farrell portrayed him.
Other than the excellent set design, the casting is near-perfect. Nicole Kidman as Martha Fransworth did a good job as a teacher and really had that southern accent down. Kirsten Dunst as Edwina Dabney did well at playing a vulnerable character. And of course, Elle Fanning’s performance as Alicia continues to show that she is a brilliant actress that is miles better than her sister ever was. Colin Farrell as Corporal McBurney did good at playing a vulnerable and wounded Union Soldier. A surprise to the cast list was Angourie Rice who had her break-out performance in last year’s The Nice Guys and was arguably the best part of that film. It was good to see her in The Beguiled and hopefully she will continue to get work as she is very talented.
In The Beguiled, Coppola does so much by doing so little. Day by day, we see relationships grow and happiness is shared among enemies, until it all falls apart at the very end. Which makes the buildup all the more magnificent.