This was an artistically praised low rent film that you can miss without any regret
I’m going to be very short and anything but sweet with this review. The Beguiled is a terrible movie. It is as dull as it is tedious, and there isn’t one adult character that you will remotely like or respect. On top of that, the cinematography is shockingly repetitive.
As most of you know, this brutal film tells the story of a wounded Union soldier being cared for at a Southern Virginia mansion in 1863. This Antebellum structure, which would have made Scarlett O’Hara a bit jealous, houses a school for girls run by Miss Martha (Nicole Kidman). While there are a few young girls in the school, the older ones (played by Kirstin Dunst and Elle Fanning) are as sexually repressed as the crazed nuns in The Little Hours. Fortunately, the nuns had a sense of humor.
Colin Farrell plays Corporal McBurney, a Union soldier with a serious leg injury. As he gradually heals, he engages in a barely disguised attempt to seduce both Ms. Dunst and Ms. Fanning. Unfortunately, but for a quick interruption it would have also involved Ms. Kidman.
As I inferred earlier, there is not one remotely interesting person in this film. Corporal McBurney reveals himself to be little more than a soulless vagabond who will gladly exploit anyone who tries to help him. All of the women seem to suffer from very low IQs, and their lives have apparently lost all meaning given that the dominant males are off fighting a war.
While I know Sophia Coppola won the Best Director Award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, you will have a hard time understanding why if you see this tragic film. While I’m glad that the festival was able to overcome years of gender discrimination, it would have been better had they waited to give the award to a woman who actually directed a good film.