The Beguiled

During the civil war, a girls’ boarding school full of southern genteel ladies is eking out an existence. Out of the goodness of their hearts, they take in an injured enemy soldier, John (Colin Farrell) and nurse him back to health. They’ve hardly got enough fabric to rip into bandages yet somehow the lot of them, including house mistress Martha (Nicole Kidman), teacher Edwina (Kirsten Dunst), and haughty student Carol (Elle Fanning), flounce around in beautiful, gauzy dresses. Suspicious.

I hated this movie in a pretty major way. Every female in the movie is a bitch, even the film_rec-02cute little ones. And every female throws herself at the soldier in their midst, despite the fact that he’s their sworn enemy and currently AWOL. And of course Johnny boy plays each and every one of them, and they faint into his greedy clutches like they don’t have a brain between them to see through his rather obvious machinations.

The entire plot of this movie relies on the crazed horniness of every single woman and girl. And when lusty John finally makes one his lucky mistress, oh man, we’re all going to wish they had stuck to just heavy petting and weird old-timey flirting.

Of course, this being a Sofia Coppola flick, it looks great. Very atmospheric. I sort of want to take a feminist read of it, and wonder where we’d be if it wasn’t for men fucking things up all the time. That’s worthy of a pause, but hard to dwell there since the movie is so entrenched in its sexual tension. The women give some fantastic performances, but the characters are so exploitative it’s hard to really appreciate any nuance.

The Beguiled is a slow-burning thriller seething with toxic masculinity. The pace is uneven, defaulting to meandering. Long, artful silences can’t mask the mixed message: Colin Farrell might be the sex object, but every female is just a flower waiting, hoping, to be plucked by him. It looks dreamy but feels grim. Coppola might be doing interesting things here but I’ll never know it because I was too enraged and insulted to care.

19 thoughts on “The Beguiled

  1. dbmoviesblog

    A spot-on review. This film had little suspense or emotion. It had not understood its novel source material. It made the story, characters and its intentions obvious, where the novel is a subtle psychological game where nothing is clear and where moral dilemmas are so well-defined. Unlike the book, most characters are one dimensional and all is plain and uninteresting in this movie. I loved Nicole Kidman and her character, though. She brought a lot to it. I do not know what this film would have turned into if Kidman weren’t there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jay Post author

      I haven’t read the book or seen the previous movie but I still thought it was a letdown, somehow. Like there was enough meat here to make it interesting, but they just didn’t.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. raistlin0903

    Wow…well that message is pretty clear, guess this movie really wasn’t to your liking lol. Reading the plot and your post it’s not really something that I plan on seeing anytime soon…so thanks for the warning 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ninvoid99

    I actually enjoyed the film as I still liked it after a re-watch. I kinda liked it a bit more than Don Siegel’s version with Clint Eastwood which was creepier and a bit darker. I think Coppola’s take was more stripped down and focused on the sense of isolation of the women in the film.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. dbmoviesblog

      They were dying to give the Director’s win to Sofia. This award going to a woman was long overdue, and there were some decent directional choices made in The Beguiled. Sofia can make her films very atmospheric, if anything, the Beguiled had just that.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Liz A.

    And here I was hoping that the women figuratively devoured the stupid man in their midst. No? They fall for his game? What a wasted opportunity.


  5. Pingback: ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIESFemale-Directed Films to Look Forward to in 2017

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