Wednesday, August 09, 2017

The Beguiled

Yesterday I saw The Beguiled, starring Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman.

Corporal John McBurney (Farrell) fell into the Union army by way of desperation—he'd just arrived from Ireland without a penny to speak of, so while he was up for the job, he didn't have a specific affinity to either American side. When he is wounded in battle, a young girl finds him bleeding and helpless in the woods. She does the "Christian" thing (as they often mention), although he is from the opposite side, and brings him to safety at the girls' seminary where she lives.

The seminary is run by strict headmistress Martha (Kidman) who immediately mends his wound, cleans him up and transforms the music area into a makeshift bedroom for him. Soon all the young girls, and their teacher Edwina (Kirsten Dunst), are smitten with their guest, bending over backwards to see to his comfort.

He is grateful and gracious—gentle with the young girls and flirtatious with the women. His wound heals nicely and it is determined that it's not appropriate for him to remain, so (sexual) tensions rise as the group knows their time with him will end soon.

There is rivalry, violence, betrayal and heartbreak as the truth unfolds. To say any more would be to spoil, so I'll just mention that the soft, pearly light that Sofia Coppola always casts over her movies with works well here. Instead of being a raw, dusty war-time drama, it feels more like an occasional thriller with some splashes of romance that hang in the air like a misty Southern fog.


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