The Beguiled Review – Shocking, Stunning, An Early Oscar Favorite

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

The Beguiled, from American Zoetrope and Focus Features, presents the final days of the Civil War and the breakdown as solid truths and commitments become clouded by the presence of a wounded Union soldier who electrifies the home.

Written and directed by Sofia Coppola, The Beguiled stars Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Oona Lawrence, Angourie Rice, Addison Riecke, and Emma Howard.

The Beguiled begins with the sun setting on the Civil War and with both sides breaking up Northern troops are deserting, Southern troops are running, as the north advances deeper into Southern held capitals.

A girls school in Virginia, run by Martha Farnsworth, played by Nicole Kidman, and her assistant, Edwina Dabney, played by Kirsten Dunst, is still in operation as the scent and sound of war rages on around them.

On this day, Amy, played by Oona Lawrence is slowing making her way around the grounds of the estate picking mushrooms to complement the dinner the women are preparing. Coming around the corner she stumbles on a badly wounded Union solider, played by Colin Farrell.

Unsure of her next move, Amy, a true daughter of the south and a believer in Christian charity, is confident helping him to the house and allowing Miss Martha, to make a decision on what to do with him is best.

Soon she and he are at the house. The solider passes out as five girls and Miss Martha and Miss Edwina, surrounded the fainted solider.

The women, who are ready to tie the blue scarf on the gates so the passing Confederates soldiers will stop and pick him up as a prisoner of war, the five younger women, all of whom believe the words they've been taught by Edwina and Martha and convince the others Christian charity is probably the right decision.

As soon as John McBurney, played by Colin Ferrell, arrives, the spark of sexuality enters the home. The girls, not accustomed to the stranger, handsome, with an Irish brogue, wounded, becomes the object of imaginative affection.

For others, Alicia, played by Elle Fanning, a teen, who would be the one to give her parents hell as sneaking out of the home or in this case the next most scared time, the evening prayers, to experience freedom and in this case, to visit the wounded John McBurney, who still in deep sleep, is unaware of her flirtatious goodnight kiss.

The next day, the home has exploded with femininity, as the girls are looking at the solider as the opportunity to shake the dust off the finery and dress a little different, take extra time fixing their hair, adding ribbons and bows, breaking out of the drab every day to entertain, on the off chance he awakes, the gentleman caller, even if he is a Union solider.

The women call on Mr. McBurney, all seven, and ask him if he would enjoy dining with them. Their kindness is genuine, he is a deserter, and as he is calculating the resolve of the women, he accepts.

Soon the evening dinner, a beautifully well-set table, candles, deliciously replete with all the trimmings, a welcomed change for Mr. McBurney, who responds with charm as they talk of the war and the end and the future.

I genuinely enjoyed The Beguiled. The nuances of southern hospitality, even the Christian language, and devout beliefs which are tricky to find the "believable" voice were spoken with authenticity.

As The Beguiled ended I said to the person beside me, "I thought it would be too soon to begin Oscar season." The Beguiled has all the elements of an award-winning film, including the director Sophia Coppola, who became the only female in the history of Cannes film festival to win the Best Director award, twice.

She pulled performances from her talent that elevated the film with the cruel twists and shocking turns, all played with a blunt honesty.  

The stellar ensemble cast, Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst, Elle fanning and newcomers Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice, Addison Riecke, and Emma Howard, each brought together the notes of a finely conducted symphony. Adding in their individual performances, the subtly and back stories, were captured easily folded into the film, with simple prop placement.   

The women left responsible for their lives as the war has taken so much from each of them, loved ones, lives, parents, lovers, have no choice as the night turns dark to make decisions they expect to be understood as the truth in which they performed and not the interpretation seen through damaged reality.

It feels a bit like dissecting and I want to add the cinematography captured, a combination of early morning mist, and bomb smoke from heavy fighting as the last bastions of General Lee's south were under heavy attack and dismantled, and the over-hanging Weeping Willow trees, the large Plantation style home, each detail was present. There was one additional element that kept me in my seat throughout the credits and I want to add stay to the end.

The Beguiled premiered at the Cannes Film Festival with obvious rave reviews. The Beguiled was also chosen as the opening film at The Los Angeles Film Festival and will open in limited engagement in the United States at June 23, 2017 and opens wide June 30, 2017.

The Beguiled, a period piece, stands out in the crowded summer box office and is a must see!

 

Images courtesy of IMDB

 

Haute Tease

  • The 42nd AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute To Jane Fonda

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, LOS ANGELES, CA, Friday, June 6, 2014 – Actor, producer, activist and author Jane Fonda was honored with the 42nd annual AFI Life Achievement Award - the highest honor for a career in film - in an evening filled with surprise and sentiment. Many of film and television's most revered artists, executives and philanthropists from across the nations turned out to pay tribute to one of America's most cherished artists. The June 5 black tie gala was taped at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, CA and will premiere on Saturday, June 14 at 9:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on TNT and encore Friday, August 1 on TCM as part of an all-night tribute to Fonda.

     
  • Where God Left His Shoes - A Gritty Portrayal of Post War Life in America

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Where God Left His Shoes, directed by Salvatore Stabile, a realistic portrayal of a down on his luck Gulf War Vet who attempts to integrate himself back into a society that has no place for him.

     
  • Terror Exploitation - The Newest Form of Hollywood Bashing

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    London Has Fallen, recently released from Focus Features, depicts the world’s worst case scenario in the war on terror, an all-out assault on London, unprecedented since the time Hitler’s Blitzkrieg rolled across Europe, in an attempt to murder the leaders of the G7.

     
  • Winter Wonderlands - The Snowiest Cities in America

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Brace yourself, winter is coming. You’ll sense its imminent arrival with a chill that creeps into the air. A chill that forces us to don our grandma-knit scarves, mukluks and tacky holiday sweaters.  

  • Kingdom of Shadows Review – Exposing the Human Toll of Drug Wars

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Kingdom of Shadows, from Participant Media, Boiling Pot and Quiet Pictures, presents a stirring documentary that exposes the duality of drug smuggling through the eyes of a quiet nun, a convicted smuggler, and a hardened DEA/Homeland Agent looking back.

Crime

  • Judge in Stanford Rape Case Stops Hearing Criminal Cases

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Judge Aaron Persky, who sentenced the Stanford convicted rapist to six months including time served, has stopped hearing felony cases due to the public outrage over his leniency in what has been deemed a travesty of justice.

     
  • Breaking News: 13 Dead On Campus; 20 injured in Oregon Mass Shooting

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A lone gunman opened fire on the Umpqua Community College Campus in Roseburg, Oregon this morning killing 13 students and injuring 20 in an all too common scenario that left the shooter “neutralized” and reportedly deceased at the scene.  

  • Decorated Virginia State Police Trooper Murdered, Two Others Injured, in Random Shooting

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Trooper Chad P. Dermyer, who one year ago was receiving an accommodation from his superiors, was shot and killed at the Richmond Greyhound Station by an ex-con who opened fire, in the crowded terminal, after a brief verbal encounter.  

     
  • People Video Exclusive: WATCH: Video of Marine Veteran Allegedly Held Captive at Motel for 4 Years that Led Cops to Rescue Him

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    New details are emerging in the case of an 81-year-old Korean War veteran with dementia allegedly held hostage in a Highland Falls, New York, motel room for four years by a man stealing his pension and Social Security checks.

     
  • Guilty Verdict Long Overdue in Etan Patz Murder

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A Manhattan jury deliberated nine days before it rendered a guilty verdict in the 40-year-old kidnapping and murder of eight-year-old Etan Patz who disappeared in 1979 as he walked to school in New York City.

Theatre, Music, Books

  • The Tall Trees of Paris Book Review - An Exquisite, Vibrant, Introduction to The New Parisian Art Scene

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Tall Trees of Paris, a flamboyant coffee table art book from Portland gallery owner and curator, Matt Wagner, introduces readers to the colorful world of Parisian artists from the point of view of the artists themselves.

     
  • Adventures on the Queen Mary Review - Stunning, Beautiful, A Must Have

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Adventures on the Queen Mary, by Dave Wooders with James Radford, a book for those who have dreamed of traveling the high seas, in all the style of a bygone era and the opulence of the Queens luxury.

     
  • Judi Dench's Exits & Entrances: A Celebration Of Shakespeare

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A Shakespearean celebration, with readings by Dame Judi Dench, David Suchet, Emilia Fox and the late Jeffery Dench. Exits and Entrances commemorates the 400th anniversary on April 23rd 2017 of the death of the world's most celebrated playwright William Shakespeare.

     
  • Season of Salt and Honey Review - Charming Depiction of Twists and Turns Life Serves Up

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Season of Salt and Honey, a novel by Hannah Tunnicliffe, is another page turner penned with her skillful artistic strokes adding layers of human emotions intertwining untimely heartache and natural healing process with the magic remedies of culinary creations.

     
  • Interstellar Soundtrack with Music By Hans Zimmer Out In Time For The Holidays

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    (October 28, 2014 – Los Angeles, CA) WaterTower Music today proudly announces the November 18 release of Interstellar: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, with music by renowned composer Hans Zimmer, whose career has earned him Grammy, Golden Globe, Classical Brit, Academy, Tony, and American Music Awards.