Sofia Coppola’s ‘The Beguiled’, Seduction, Manipulation and Temptation at it's Finest!
The Beguiled is based on both Thomas Cullinan’s 1966 novel , which BTW was originally titled, “A Painted Devil,” and the Don Siegel 1971 feature adaptation of that book about an injured Union soldier during the Civil War who takes refuge at a Virginia girls’ school located on the Confederate side. Coppola partnered with Universal to pull the film out of their archives, she wanted “to do the version of the same story from a woman’s point of view.” The Beguiled marks Coppola’s third movie with Kirsten Dunst following The Virgin Suicides and Marie Antoinette, this is Elle Fanning's second film with Sofia Coppola. Fast forward to the present, Sofia Coppola has revisited an american classic with a twist that won her best director at Cannes Film Festival. This makes her the second woman in the event’s 70-year history to win such a coveted award.
When writing the screenplay Sofia Coppola had Nicole Kidman in mind, "I think she's unique. It was like watching a virtuoso or an incredible athlete. We'd do a scene, and she'd have five different emotions going on at the same time." Colin Farrell revealed that filming of this movie was his favorite shoot in his career, praising his co-stars and his director; "To be surrounded by talented, decent, smart, insightful creative and serious women, I was spoiled by Sofia Coppola who set a particular mood of comfort, ease and trust. It allows you as an actor to play and explore."
If you’ve seen the original movie, don’t worry, this wasn’t solely recreated based on the movie, Sofia Coppola has stated that this is NOT a remake of the 1971 film of the same title, but an adaption of the same Thomas Cullinan novel that film is based on. I agree with her, after seeing both movies they are completely different, each in their own right superb!
The Beguiled is filmed in soft romantic lighting, candles illuminate the house, at first the rooms are filled with natural light however as the scenes grow darker with disappear so does the lighting. It’s as if the house picks up the dark energy that has been brought to their door step. The year is 1864, the Civil War still rages on despite the outcome growing more certain by the day, and somewhere amongst the unattended willow trees that surround the great eerie swamp of southeastern Virginia lies the danger that will lure them into temptation. Having 7 woman, varies ages, under one roof, vying for one mans attention, can be brutal, even at times vengeful. Each woman has been brought to this majestic mansion that serves as “seminary for young ladies” to survive the war. But what they don’t know an internal war will be testing their faith, friendship and camaraderie. The object of their mutual fascination is an Irish Union soldier one of the girls discovers that is badly wounded and nurse back to health.
What I love about this movie was the emphasis of female empowerment, a group of woman turning the table on an injured, lying, conniving yankee soldier who sees the crack within each woman and chooses to exploit them. When woman stick together, hell has no fury, we can move mountains together. With epic plot twists that will resonate with audience goers, this movie will blow you away.