Watch The Beguiled
- 1 hr 34 min
In 1864, during the peak of the American Civil War, a young girl accidentally discovers a wounded Union soldier while picking mushrooms in the woods. With no one else around to help him, she decides to bring him to her school for girls, a large estate tucked away in the Virginia countryside. They nurse him back to health, and while staying with them, he charms the women and girls within the school with his gentlemanly manners and pleasing demeanor.
As he recuperates, the soldier takes note of the women in the house; their loneliness, their fears, their desires. He begins to slowly work his way into their lives as they nurse him back to health. He makes each of them feel special, and they all begin to fall in love with him in their own way. The women include Miss Martha (Nicole Kidman), the headmistress of the school, Edwina (Kirsten Dunst), a timid teacher, and Alicia (Elle Fanning), a teenage student who embodies the wild spirit and curiosity of youth.
However, as the soldier recovers and begins to gain strength back, he becomes increasingly restless, and his presence in the house begins to disturb the fragile balance of the women's relationships with each other. Secrets are revealed, and tensions rise, leading to a series of unfortunate events that push the story towards a dramatic and unexpected conclusion.
The Beguiled is a remake of the 1971 film of the same name, which was directed by Don Siegel and starred Clint Eastwood. However, director Sofia Coppola's version takes a different approach to the same story. Instead of focusing on the soldier's perspective, as the original did, Coppola shifts the focus to the women and girls. The result is a film that explores gender roles, sexuality, and power dynamics in a way that feels fresh and relevant.
The film is beautifully shot, with a lush and dreamy quality that evokes a sense of both freedom and confinement. The school is a place of refuge, but it is also a metaphorical prison, and the camera captures that duality in every frame. The film also benefits from strong performances from the entire cast, with Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst delivering particularly nuanced and subtle performances.
While the film has been criticized for its lack of racial diversity and for glossing over the realities of slavery and the Civil War, it is important to remember that this is a story about a very specific place and time. The Beguiled is not meant to be a comprehensive examination of that era, but rather a tale of love, jealousy, and revenge set against the backdrop of war.
Overall, The Beguiled is a haunting and evocative film that lingers long after the credits roll. It is a story about the ways in which women are capable of both great love and great cruelty, and about the power dynamics that exist between individuals when they are forced into close proximity with each other. It is a story about the complexities and contradictions of human nature, and the ways in which we are all beguiled by something or someone at some point in our lives.
The Beguiled is a 2017 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 34 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.3 and a MetaScore of 77.