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Review: The Beguiled

Updated on October 16, 2017
Joseph Lawrence profile image

Joseph Lawrence (25) grew up in the New York area and is a recent college grad in Film Studies. He is a huge film buff and loves horror!

The Beguiled theatrical poster
The Beguiled theatrical poster

The Beguiled

From the same studio that brought you The Zookeeper's Wife and Atomic Blonde, Focus Features' The Beguiled is a 2017 American drama directed by Sofia Coppola. For those who are unaware, this film is a remake of the 1971 film of the same name and also based off the book A Painted Devil. The stars in the films are Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst, Nicole Kidman, and Elle Fanning. The film takes place during the American Civil War and follows women who live and work in a 19th century girls' school. Later on they encounter a corporal from the Union Army and take him in. They tend to his wounds, but are still wary of him. And the question lingers whether or not he will able to leave in one piece.

Corporal John McBurny (Colin Farrell) and Alicia (Elle Fanning)
Corporal John McBurny (Colin Farrell) and Alicia (Elle Fanning)

The 19th century

You'd probably already guessed but the film takes place during the 19th century. The detail behind the costumes, props, and setting are all well done. Very noteworthy are the performances from the cast. Colin plays the kind Irish Corporal from the Union Army and Kidman and the rest of the women are the best in their Southern charms and dialogue. While watching, you'll definitely feel like you're in the old South again.

Miss Martha Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman) as she comforts the girls.
Miss Martha Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman) as she comforts the girls.

Drama or Horror?

In hindsight, the film can also serve as an horror film. The suspenseful way the camera moves and pans is creepy. Also, except for the daytime scenes, the movie overall is incredibly dark. But admittedly, the best parts belong to the heighten drama and thrill of the events that take place inside the house. Despite their beliefs, the women fall easily into temptation and become their worst selves during the Corporal's stay.

Miss Martha (Nicole Kidman) and the girls as they watch the Corporal eat dinner.
Miss Martha (Nicole Kidman) and the girls as they watch the Corporal eat dinner.

Verdict

The Beguiled is a fantastic period piece. The dialogue is good and snappy. The characters are living, breathing depictions of the past. And more importantly, the story is extremely intriguing and easy to follow. But, be warned as there are many scary elements to it that may not appeal to the faint of heart.

The Beguiled is available on Blu-ray, DVD, and available streaming platforms.

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