Last night I watched The Beguiled and I am here, gentle reader, to suggest that you don’t do the same. I generally respect and enjoy the artistic choices made by director Sofía Coppola, but I found this film hard to see (as in dark) and hard to watch (as in not at all the feminist version of this film I was led to believe it was). While the film is beautifully draped in Spanish moss, muslin dresses and southern charm, it simply lacks emotion. Like so many of Corolla’s films, in my opinion. Where is the lust? Or the vengeful heart?
If you’ve ever seen the 1971 Clint Eastwood woman-fearing original trope, you may be familiar with the basic story: a school full of women of different ages must contend with a wounded soldier trying to stay in their home and get into (nearly) all of their pantaloons. He’s very busy trying to get that wounded leg over on one of them, and, when he gets caught in the wrong bed, is wounded all over again at the hand of Miss Martha’s bone saw.
There’s less sex in this version of the film, more’s the pity. I think there was a missed opportunity to make it sexy from the female gaze and bury the soft porn haze a Corporal McBurney works his way through their bedrooms. Colin Farrell’s soldier manipulates every woman under the school house roof and yet the revenge they feel manifests instead from fear after he threatens them with a gun. A missed opportunity to get women cheering for the mushroom dinner.
Really, really short review: Dark, dull and lacking teeth, The Beguiled doesn’t cut quite deep enough.