Movie: The Beguiled (2017)

As with all of my movie, TV show or book blogs, there are spoilers!  So, if you proceed beyond this it is on you.

My Thoughts While Watching:

Should it have been a sign to me that in the opening scene (perspective of down the road and you cannot see her but hear a girl humming) when they start throwing up the names of the people who are in the movie (did they know it would be so bad that people would leave BEFORE the credits?) and suddenly in this HORRIBLE font the name of the movie is splashed across the screen – that I thought to myself: This is going to be horrible?  (see above movie poster for the crappy font)

Definition of beguiled: 1: To charm or enchant (someone), sometimes in a deceptive way. 2: Help (time) pass pleasantly.  (I am guessing they went with #1)

Out in the middle of southern nowhere a war is going on.  We know this because in the distance you can hear cannons and once there was a stream of soldiers passing the gate and of course there is a wounded yank that the movie revolves around. Our story takes place at a girls’ seminary (I have to look that up later, I thought seminaries were primarily religious institutions for boys studying for the clergy.)  It is run by a horny woman, classes are taught by a horny marm and there are only four horny teenage girls because with the war, everyone else who could go home have, saving themselves from being a character in this story they have fled.

The young woman every evening goes to the veranda with her telescope and looks off into the distance. It is a repeated scene. They do not explain why really, or what comes of it. So…why?

Cuts between scenes go to total black with an impregnated pause and it feels awkward.  Every scene shows us an almost identical shot of the seminary before telling the story. It is like a TV show more than a movie in the way it is edited.  The sound is horrible, again more like a TV show with hollowed footsteps that sound as if they were made in a cave or can.

Cpl McBurney (Farrell): Is he a mercenary? Is he just a coward?  Did he love Edwina, the school marm?  Did he think that he was crawling into her bed because he had seen her through that one window?  Did they say he was a mercenary because he had a great Irish accent (obvs) and thought they would utilize it to make him more charming?  Does Farrell act poorly in all of his movies?  I will have to evaluate that later.

Nicole Kidman, had she used her poorly done accent from Far and Away, would have been the same character from F&A.  I am wondering, as I watch even more movies, if because I see these people in so many roles that I am having a harder time being able to separate them from their body of work when watching them in something new?  It is glaring with Kidman in this movie. Her fault or mine?

I will insert IMDB storyline here because I was struggling to stay awake and my note taking was not on point: Three years into the senseless American Civil War, in 1864, the dilapidated mansion of Miss Martha Farnsworth’s Seminary for Young Ladies is still running, occupied by the matriarch, a teacher and five students in Spanish moss-draped Virginia. However, when a young student stumbles upon Corporal John McBurney, a wounded Union deserter on the verge of death, the already frail balance of things will be disrupted, as the hesitant headmistress decides to take him in to heal from his injury. Little by little, as the unwelcome guest arouses an uneasy sexual excitation among the women of the secluded boarding school, it is not before long that they will find themselves competing for the alluring man’s favour. Undoubtedly, this handsome devil is a manipulator, nevertheless, will the ladies stay forever beguiled by his charm? 

This is a remake of a 1971 movie of the same name starring Clint Eastwood and Geraldine Page.  I will watch that one at some point (before they take it off of HBO) and maybe clear my pallet of this god awful taste.

Have you seen it?  Do you disagree with my thoughts on the movie?  Let me know in the comments below.

IMDB Synopsis: <Insert IMDB for movie>


Lead Actress:  Nicole Kidman

Lead Actor: Colin Farrell

Supporting Female: Kirsten Dunst

Supporting Female: Elle Fanning

Director: Sofia Coppola on a totally unrelated note: I once drank a can of her canned champagne and liked it.


1 Ugh – 2 Meh – 3 I don’t hate it? – 4 That was solid. – 5 Loved It!

Cinematography: 2

Costume Design: 2

Film Editing: 1

Makeup and Hairstyling: 3

Music: 1

Production Design: 1

Sound Editing/Mixing: 1

Writing: 2

Overall score:  13 out of 40



Additional Movie Info:

It received a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 78% Fresh.  It received a Rotten Tomato audience rating of 48% liking it.  Average Rating: 3.1/5 with a number of User Ratings: 13,575.

Movie Reviews:

Specs:  Release date: 24 May 2017 (USA) / Runtime: 93 minutes / Budget: $10.5M

IMDB Trivia:

  • The production ran into a minor crisis when several costumes were completely ruined in the washing machine. According to costume designer Stacey Battat, her creations were doomed as someone put bleach in the washing machine and forgot, and then put clothes in the same machine. The costumes had to be recreated immediately for the production not to run off schedule.
  • The cast went through several lessons during filming. They had a sewing teacher, a dancing teacher, took etiquette classes, corset training lessons and had to cook and eat meals together. A Civil War reenactor demonstrated how to dress wounds, and a priest explained prayers from the Book of Matthew and Sofia Coppola distributed an antebellum etiquette book, titled “How to Be a Good Southern Lady”.
  • Contrary to popular belief, McBurney’s heritage was not changed to suit Colin Farrell’s natural accent. The character is Irish in the book. Farrell was not initially going to use his Dublin accent but pushed to have the movie accurate to the original story.
  • The character Hallie was cut from the film. She’s a slave and the only person of color in the novel and in the 1971 film, and an essential character in both. Sofia Coppola explained in interview with Film School Rejects in May 2017, that she felt slavery was such an important topic and she didn’t want to treat it lightly, she felt she should focus on these women who are so cut off from the world.


1 reply »

  1. Contrary opinion alert – I loved this picture. Shot on 35mm with some real cinematic framing. The cinematography did that Malick-esque thing of harnessing nature and natural light to enrich the tapestry of the storytelling. Superb non-verbal communication from the actors.

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