The Beguiled (2017 film)

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The Beguiled
The Beguiled (2017 film).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySofia Coppola
Screenplay bySofia Coppola
Based onThe Beguiled
by Thomas P. Cullinan
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyPhilippe Le Sourd
Edited bySarah Flack
Music byPhoenix
Production
companies
Distributed byFocus Features
Release dates
  • May 24, 2017 (2017-05-24) (Cannes)
  • June 23, 2017 (2017-06-23) (United States)
Running time
94 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$10 million[2]
Box office$27.4 million[3]

The Beguiled is a 2017 American Southern Gothic thriller film written and directed by Sofia Coppola, based on the 1966 novel of the same name (originally published as A Painted Devil) by Thomas P. Cullinan. It stars Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning. It is the second film adaptation of Cullinan's novel, following Don Siegel's 1971 film of the same name.

It premiered on May 24 at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival,[4] and was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or in its main competition section,[5][6] where Coppola won the Best Director award, becoming only the second woman (after 1961 winner Yuliya Solntseva) to do so.[7] The film was released theatrically on June 23, 2017, by Focus Features.

Plot[edit]

Martha Farnsworth runs a girls school in Virginia during the Civil War. By 1864, almost all of the students, teachers, and slaves have left. In addition to Farnsworth herself, only five students and one teacher, Edwina Morrow, remain. While out in the woods searching for mushrooms, Amy, a pupil, comes across John McBurney, a corporal in the Union Army who was wounded in the leg during battle, and has since deserted. Amy brings McBurney to the school where he falls unconscious. The women lock McBurney in one of the rooms while Miss Farnsworth tends to his wounds. All the women and girls in the school are immediately fascinated by the handsome man.

Initially, some of the school's residents want McBurney to be delivered as a prisoner of war to the Confederate Army, but Miss Farnsworth decides that they will let his leg heal before they decide what they will do with him. When Confederate soldiers arrive at the school, Miss Farnsworth does not tell them that a Union soldier is on the premises. While McBurney is recovering, the women and girls subtly vie for his affection by giving him presents, wearing jewelry, and preparing a lavish dinner for him. He returns the affection, concentrating especially on Miss Morrow and Miss Farnsworth. When he is able to move again, he begins to help in the garden. It becomes clear that he fears returning to battle.

When Miss Farnsworth indicates that McBurney is healthy enough and will have to leave the school in a few days, he tries to convince her to let him stay as a gardener, and tells Miss Morrow that he has fallen in love with her. One night, he tells Miss Morrow to await him in her room. When he does not appear and she hears strange noises, she investigates and finds him in bed with Alicia, a teenage pupil. McBurney tries to calm the angry Miss Morrow down, but she pushes him away, causing him to fall down the stairs, badly break his already injured leg and fall unconscious. Miss Farnsworth decides that the only way to save his life is to amputate the leg.

When he awakes the next day and realizes he has lost his leg, McBurney is devastated and furious, accusing the women (and especially Miss Farnsworth) of having punished him for choosing Alicia's room instead of theirs. He is locked up in his room but threatens Alicia, who gets him the room key. He then breaks out, steals a gun, and loudly threatens the women before storming off. Miss Morrow follows him to his room, where she initiates a sexual encounter.

Meanwhile Miss Farnsworth tries to find a solution. One of the students suggests killing McBurney by preparing him a dinner of poisonous mushrooms, to which Miss Farnsworth agrees. During the dinner, Miss Morrow, unaware of the plan, is deterred by the others at the last minute from putting the mushrooms on her own plate, but McBurney's suspicions are not aroused. Promptly after eating the mushrooms, he falls to the floor in the throes of death. While the others are sewing McBurney's body into a shroud, Miss Morrow looks on, devastated. The film ends with the women dragging McBurney's body to the road so that he will be found by the next Confederate soldiers who pass by.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film is based on the 1966 book of the same name by author Thomas P. Cullinan about a wounded Union soldier in a Mississippi seminary during the American Civil War,[8] and was made for under $10 million.[9] The film exhibited elements of the thriller genre, a departure for Coppola.[8]

Coppola had initially expressed an aversion to a remake, but after watching the 1971 version at the urging of production designer Anne Rose, she was left contemplating ways she could update the film.[10] Specifically, she became interested in showing the story from the women's point of view, as opposed to the man's.[11] The material came to Coppola at a time when she wanted to make a more optimistic film than 2013's The Bling Ring, stating that she wanted to "cleanse myself" from what she terms was "such a tacky, ugly world".[10] Coppola cited her fascination with the South as part of the story's attraction. Coppola has said that she "wanted the film to represent an exaggerated version of all the ways women were traditionally raised there just to be lovely and cater to men—the manners of that whole world, and how they change when the men go away". Coppola has cited Gone with the Wind as her inspiration for creating a film that was relatable despite its position within a different era.[8]

The Madewood Plantation House

In March 2016, it was announced that Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman, and Kirsten Dunst were in talks to appear in the film,[12] and had been signed by July, when Colin Farrell entered talks.[13] Based on a Magnificat from Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine, the music for the film was composed by the rock band Phoenix (whose lead singer, Thomas Mars, is married to Coppola).[14] Two popular Civil War ballads, "Lorena" and "Aura Lea", were used in the film, in addition to Stephen Foster's "Virginia Belle".[15] Most of the costumes in the film were designed by Stacey Battat, who used the costume and fabric archives of the Metropolitan Museum of Art to gain inspiration for contemporary fashion.[16] Corsets were made for each actress, while for historical accuracy only cotton fabric was used, which was in turn either stone washed or enzyme washed to weather the fabrics and make them look worn in.[16]

Principal photography began on October 31, 2016, and concluded on December 7, 2016.[17][18] Exterior scenes were shot on the grounds of the Madewood Plantation House, near Napoleonville, Louisiana.[19] Interiors were filmed in actress Jennifer Coolidge's house in New Orleans.[20]

Release[edit]

The film had its world premiere at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival;[4] Coppola won the Best Director Award,[21] making her the second woman to ever win in that category, 56 years after the first female director won.[22][1] The film began a limited release on June 23, 2017, before expanding to a wide release on June 30, 2017.[23]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

The Beguiled grossed $10.6 million in the United States and Canada and $16.1 million in other territories for a total of $26.7 million.[3]

In the film's limited opening weekend, it made $240,545 from four theaters (a per-theater gross of $60,136), finishing 20th at the box office.[24] In its wide opening, it made $3.2 million from 674 theaters (an average of $4,694), finishing 8th at the box office.[25]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 79% based on 326 reviews, with an average rating of 7.2/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Beguiled adds just enough extra depth to its source material to set itself apart, and director Sofia Coppola's restrained touch is enlivened by strong performances from the cast."[26] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 77 out of 100, based on 45 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[27]

David Ehrlich of IndieWire gave the film an "A−", saying, "Coppola's film is told with surgical precision and savage grace."[28] Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter stated: "Other than to place slightly more emphasis on the female empowerment angle ... it's hard to detect a strong raison d'etre behind Sofia Coppola's slow-to-develop melodrama."[29]

Controversy[edit]

The film faced a wave of controversy and division, including accusations of 'whitewashing' the original story after she chose to both remove the supporting role of a black female slave from the film, as well as to choose Kirsten Dunst to portray a character who was biracial in the original novel. Coppola also faced criticism for minimizing the story of the people experiencing actual hardship in favor of depicting, albeit authentically, the lavish lifestyle of her protagonists, thus minimizing the importance of a weighty topic,[8][30] which was not the first time one of Coppola's films was said to expose the sociocultural affordances of her own childhood.[8] Coppola responded to these allegations by stating that she made the changes so as "not [to] brush over such an important topic in a light way," and that "[y]oung girls watch my films and this was not the depiction of an African American character I would want to show them."[30] She furthermore cited the presence of young girls among her moviegoing audience,[8] and described her version of the film as a reinterpretation, rather than a remake, of Don Siegel's 1971 adaption of the same book.[8] Coppola wanted to tell the story of the male soldier entering into a classically southern and female environment from the point of view of the women in order to represent that experience.[8][31] Coppola thought that the earlier version made the characters out to be unrealistic caricatures, which did not allow the viewer to connect with them.[8]

While some critics stated that Coppola intended The Beguiled as a feminist work, Coppola has explained that she was not in favor of that labeling. Though she has said she is happy if others see the film in this way, she sees it as a film, rather, that possesses a female perspective—an important distinction. The Beguiled was also made as a contrast to The Bling Ring, and Coppola has explained the need to correct that film's harsh Los Angeles aesthetic with something more beautiful and poetic.[8]

Accolades[edit]

Award Date Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Austin Film Critics Association 2018 Best Adapted Screenplay Sofia Coppola Nominated
Awards Circuit Community Awards 2017 Best Costume Design Stacey Battat Nominated
Cannes Film Festival 2017 Best Director Sofia Coppola Won
Palme d'Or Nominated
CineLibri International Book and Movie Festival 2017 Grand Prize for the Best Literary Adaptation Sofia Coppola Nominated
Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards 2017 Best Cinematography Philippe Le Sourd Nominated
Faro Island Film Festival 2018 Best Cinematography Philippe Le Sourd Nominated
Best Production Design Anne Ross Nominated
Best Ensemble Performance The Beguiled -

Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning,

Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice,

Addison Riecke, Emma Howard, Wayne Pére, Matt Story

Nominated
International Online Cinema Awards 2018 Best Costume Design Stacey Battat Runner-up
International Online Cinema Awards

(Halfway Award)

2017 Best Director Sofia Coppola Won
Best Actress Nicole Kidman Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Sofia Coppola Won
Best Ensemble Performance The Beguiled -

Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning,

Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice,

Addison Riecke, Emma Howard, Wayne Pére, Matt Story

Won
Best Cinematography Philippe Le Sourd Nominated
Best Original Score Laura Karpman &

Phoenix

Nominated
Best Costume Design Stacey Battat Nominated
Best Production Design Anne Ross Nominated
Jerusalem Film Festival 2017 Best International Film The Beguiled Nominated
London Critics Circle Film Awards 2018 British/Irish Actor of the Year Colin Farrell Nominated
Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society Awards 2017 Best Female Director Sofia Coppola Nominated
Munich Film Festival 2017 Best International Film The Beguiled Nominated
Phoenix Critics Circle 2017 Best Mystery or Thriller Film The Beguiled Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards 2017 Best Adapted Screenplay Sofia Coppola Nominated
Best Costume Design Stacey Battat Nominated
Best Production Design Anne Ross Nominated
Satellite Awards 2018 Best Costume Design Stacey Battat Nominated
Zagreb Film Festival 2017 Best Film The Beguiled Nominated

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "2017 Screenings Guide" (PDF). Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  2. ^ Thompson, Anne (May 23, 2017). "With 'The Beguiled,' Sofia Coppola Seeks Cannes Redemption with a Southern-Gothic Remake". IndieWire. Penske Business Media. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "The Beguiled". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Orlova-Alvarez, Tamara; Alvarez, Joe (May 25, 2017). "Nicole Kidman at The Beguiled World Premiere in Cannes". Ikon London Magazine. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  5. ^ "The 2017 Official Selection". Cannes Film Festival. April 13, 2017. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  6. ^ Winfrey, Graham (April 13, 2017). "2017 Cannes Film Festival Announces Lineup: Todd Haynes, Sofia Coppola, 'Twin Peaks' and More". IndieWire. Penske Business Media. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  7. ^ Debruge, Peter (May 28, 2017). "2017 Cannes Film Festival Award Winners Announced". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Lodge, Guy (July 2, 2017). "Sofia Coppola: 'I never felt I had to fit into the majority view'". The Guardian. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  9. ^ Kohn, Eric (November 27, 2017). "Sofia Coppola: How She Survived 'The Beguiled' Backlash, Why She Won't Do TV, and Why Her Dad is 'Over' Film". IndieWire. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Sollosi, Mary (June 16, 2017). "The Beguiled: Sofia Coppola on how she made the remake her own". Entertainment Weekly. Time. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
  11. ^ Lopez, Kristen (May 19, 2017). "In Conversation with Sofia Coppola". Film School Rejects. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  12. ^ Kroll, Justin (March 29, 2016). "Sofia Coppola to Write, Direct Remake of Clint Eastwood Drama 'The Beguiled'". Variety. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  13. ^ Kroll, Justin (July 14, 2016). "Colin Farrell In Talks to Star in Sofia Coppola's 'Beguiled' Remake (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  14. ^ Erbland, Kate (May 10, 2017). "'The Beguiled': French Rockers Phoenix Providing Score for Sofia Coppola's Latest Period Piece". IndieWire. Penske Business Media. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  15. ^ soundtrackmania (June 30, 2017). "The Beguiled Soundtrack". Soundtrack Mania. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  16. ^ a b Moore, Booth (June 15, 2017). "The Story Behind the Sweet (and Sinister) Costumes in Sofia Coppola's 'The Beguiled'". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  17. ^ Fanning, Elle (October 31, 2016). "#thebeguiledmovie began filming today... Happy Halloween!". Instagram. Archived from the original on 2021-12-24. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  18. ^ Calvaro, Liz (December 8, 2016). "'The Beguiled': Kirsten Dunst Shares Photo With Elle Fanning From Last Day on Sofia Coppola's Set". IndieWire. Penske Business Media. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  19. ^ Halberg, Morgan (June 29, 2017). "'The Beguiled' House Is Actually a Charming Bed and Breakfast". The New York Observer. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  20. ^ Buchanan, Kyle (June 14, 2017). "How Sofia Coppola Reclaimed The Beguiled for Women (and Gay Men)". Vulture. New York Media. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  21. ^ Orlova-Alvarez, Tamara; Alvarez, Joe (May 29, 2017). "All the Awards at the 70th Cannes Film Festival". Ikon London Magazine. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  22. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy; Evans, Greg (April 13, 2017). "Cannes Lineup: Todd Haynes, Sofia Coppola, Noah Baumbach, 'Twin Peaks'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  23. ^ Kay, Jermey (November 2, 2016). "Focus to release 'The Beguiled' in June 2017". Screen Daily. Screen International. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  24. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (June 25, 2017). "Why 'Transformers' Is Screaming For Reboot After $69M Start; 'Wonder Woman' & 'Cars 3' Fight Over 2nd Place". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
  25. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (July 2, 2017). "'Despicable Me 3' Now At $75M+; 'Baby Driver' Booms To $30M As 'The House' Goes Broke With $9M – July 4th Weekend B.O." Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
  26. ^ "The Beguiled (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  27. ^ "The Beguiled Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  28. ^ Ehrlich, David (May 24, 2017). "'The Beguiled' Review: Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst Subvert Male Fantasies in Sofia Coppola's Sensational Southern Potboiler". IndieWire. Penske Business Media. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  29. ^ McCarthy, Todd (May 24, 2017). "'The Beguiled': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  30. ^ a b
  31. ^ "Revisited: Sofia Coppola". Interview. October 26, 2017. Retrieved April 15, 2018.

External links[edit]