Secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, a man has established a tenuous domestic order with his wife and son, but this will soon be put to test when a desperate young family arrives seeking refuge.
Trey Edward Shults
In the Middle Ages, a young servant fleeing from his master takes refuge at a convent full of emotionally unstable nuns. Introduced as a deaf mute man, he must fight to hold his cover as the nuns try to resist temptation.
Set in 19th century rural England, young bride who has been sold into marriage to a middle-aged man discovers an unstoppable desire within herself as she enters into an affair with a worker on her estate.
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". See more »
Though set in Virginia, the film repeatedly includes exterior shots of trees with hanging moss. Hanging moss does not grow in any part of Virginia. The latitude of Virginia is far too north. See more »
This seems like an attempt by Coppola to make a commercial film--though odd as it's a remake of a commercial failure. But these days anything made once is worth remaking.
The film is almost totally bland in every way. There is virtually no music or camera movement and in a story that takes place largely in confined spaces this is a deadly choice.
It generates no momentum as it goes on and on....
Coppola has no feel for the material and key changes from the original leave plot holes--or if you prefer character motivation holes.
If you've never seen the excellent original film the basic story, even in this watered down version, could hold your interest, but it better because this is a very polite version of a story that is far from polite. She leaves out the slave character from the book and original film and this is a mistake, all the mistakes like this seem to be for the same kind of reason for fear of the film being about racism or about sexual attraction and danger or about war and what it does to people. For fear of the film being about anything that might offend anyone.
So she spends her time in dimly lit interiors with mostly very polite low toned interactions between people and a music score this is a short collection of drones that seem like music left out of some 80's horror movie score.
The movie manages to have no point of view, no central character and so it's just hard to care.
This is being sold as a thriller and she certainly has no feel for that, the best shots in the movie are some moody southern hanging vines and such,but when she rarely goes in for a shot of anything other than a bland medium to long shot it seems for little purpose.
She seems afraid to break an egg to make an omelet is one way to look at it. The actors seem like they'd like to break out and get into the movie but she refused to let them. Now is this a matter of editing--where to bring the length down key things got left out--perhaps, as some scenes seem to have no connection emotionally for the people in them. Someone will be enraged, then in the next scene perfectly calm as if nothing happened.
Or is it in some failed attempt to do something different than the original. Problem with this is when there is some perfect choice already done well then what do have you as options? Less good choices or just no choice is what the do here.
If she wanted to make a film of the novel she hasn't, as the book is told from different characters perspectives this could have made for an interesting, who is really seeing the truth type of film. If that was done you could see that one girl thinks the soldier is just trying to exploit them for his advantage--sexual and or otherwise, while another girl might seem him as friendly and haplessly driven by extremes of the head mistress.
This element exists to a small degree in the original film but here it's nowhere to be seen.
The film feels and mostly looks like a watered down shot on video rather cheap TV production from 30 years ago, made by people who don't care much for the story but are doing it because it's something to do and let's just get it done with as little fuss as we can.
A waste of time.
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