The Beguiled (2017), Dir. Sofia Coppola

The Beguiled (2017), Dir. Sofia Coppola
You’re our most unwelcome visitor, and we do not propose to entertain you.
— Martha Farnsworth, The Beguiled (2017)

Stars: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice, Addison Riecke, Emma Howard.
Director: Sofia Coppola
Screenplay: Sofia Coppola

Coppola walks a fine line of producing a drama or satire and somehow pulls both off. With her incredible talents of directing and writing she brings alive the absurd within the mundane by simple subtleties and observations of character. And of course she gets the help from her fantastic cast of seasoned actors who are at the height of their game.

Set in the south in the midst of the Civil War a Yankee soldier (Colin Farrell) is found wounded under a forest tree by Amy (Mona Laurence) and is taken to her school to be bandaged up. Her teachers, Martha (Nicole Kidman) and Edwina (Kirsten Dunst) sow him up. The all woman school is isolated as the war goes on around them and instead of sending word of John to the Confederates, they allow him to regain his strength before forcing him to leave. 

With only having each other as company for so long, John becomes of great interest to all and sending many into a heated frenzy as he is the first real male acquaintance that they have had in some time. They peacock their way about him in the most satisfying way though some a slightly more subtle than others. 

This is by far Coppola's most mainstream film in quite some time yet she still plays within the freedom of arthouse. There is quirk here, nuance of play within the actors and their text, a farce within reality that brings so much joy to the screen. What could be considered a rudimentary, banal reality piece of the isolation of the civil war becomes the perfect setting of heightened emotion and sexual frustration.

Coppola has once again produced a film that lets her actors play, form real chemistry in their heightened sense of reality while also creating the beauty of the scene.

 

★ ★ ★ ★