Rebecca Movie Review Rating: 2 Stars (Two stars)
Star Cast: Lily James, Armie Hammer, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ann Dowd
Director: Ben Wheatley
What’s Good: Armie Hammer and Lily James are a treat to watch together.
What’s Bad: It starts and you wish it ends, but it doesn’t!
Loo Break: There’s nothing in the movie that holds your attention. So don’t hold your pee!
Watch or Not?: This isn’t the Halloween treat you want.
Rebecca is based on Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 novel of the same name. Alfred Hitchcock made the first film adaptation of the novel in 1940. However, I haven’t watched it and nor have I read the novel, so my views are purely based on the Netflix film. There ain’t any room for comparison in the review.
It’s a story of a young woman (Lily James) who has no name and is addressed as ‘mademoiselle’. She works for the service of Mrs Van Hopper (Ann Dowd). The lady’s life changes when she meets Maxim de Winter (Armie Hammer), a widower and the two fall in love. Yet, her name isn’t revealed, and she gets a new name ‘Mrs de Winter’. After the wedding, the duo goes back to his mansion Manderley. It is said that the ghost of Maxim’s ex-wife Rebecca still lurks in Manderley. But that’s not the only horrific reality of Maxim and his life in Manderley.
Rebecca Movie Review: Script Analysis
As I mentioned earlier, the movie is based on Daphne du Maurier’s novel. As I haven’t read it, I have no clue how the story begins in it. For Ben Wheatley’s Netflix film, the screenplay is penned by Jane Goldman, Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse. The story starts enticingly. You are invested in the characters. Lily James’ character narrates the story, so we get to see events through her point of view. However, it gets tedious to watch after 30 minutes. There’s no build-up, it’s a plain tale that lacks soul and thrill. It struggles.
Talking about the character, Lily James is also the narrator who says that she doesn’t believe in ghosts. There have been instances where one would think she’d believe her husband’s ex-wife’s spirit is troubling her. But the evil isn’t always the ghost! The horror isn’t brought up on people by dead always, and that’s a revelation for Mrs de Winter when she learns how Rebecca died.
Sadly, Armie Hammer is mainly used as a good looking face. Who is Maxim de Winter really? You don’t know anything until the last 30 minutes. However, the story slogs a lot with no astounding twists and turns. Hence, the revelation of his personality doesn’t cause the impact that was intended.
Rebecca Movie Review: Star Performance
For Lily James, it was a movie where she had to play two strikingly different characters. In the first half, she’s innocent and lovely. By the end, she turns into a person no one would expect her to; not even Maxim. It was a character that’s well written. However, the actress appears weak in her performance, she falls flat at times.
Armie Hammer plays Maxim de Winter well. The mysterious side is kept under the wrap until the newlyweds visit Manderley. So, he did a good job being a sweet, romantic man enamouring a lady with his charm and affection. But for an actor of his calibre, you expect better writing.
Despite Lily falling flat in terms of impactful performances, the chemistry between her and Armie is seductive and palpable. But that would’ve been best if it were a passionate movie of love and romance.
Another performance that stood out was of Kristin Scott Thomas as Mrs Danvers. Is she evil or she’s good? What are her intentions? She plays the caretaker at Manderley, and the entire staff works under her. She was very close to Rebecca and isn’t pleased with the new Mrs de Winter. Kristin plays her part fantastically because you despise her, but by the end, you don’t know if you do anymore!
There’s no face to the character, but Rebecca has intrigued me. It’s unfortunate how she died. However, when you learn her reality, you are perplexed as to what side to choose!
Rebecca Movie Review: Direction, Music
Director Ben Wheatley had everything – good looking and talented cast, a twisted story and a big mansion. While the shots of the mansion, sea and the nightmares are spooky, he couldn’t create an impression that the trailer had promised. The movie becomes a snooze-fest after some time. Even if he had no intention of bringing in any ghostly horror, Ben had a lot of areas where he could knock the audience’s mind and create a stirring impact. But he failed to do so.
The songs used are good, but one can only enjoy them if they are engrossed in the movie. Sadly, that doesn’t happen.
Rebecca Movie Review: The Last Word
Overall, Rebecca has good romance, beautiful cast, but it lacks soul. The movie isn’t interesting enough to hold your attention until the end. It slogs, and one wouldn’t want to invest their time to watch it till the end only to learn that it doesn’t give any WOW moment.
Rebecca releases on 21st October, 2020.
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