IMDb Rating: 6/10
PG-13 | 2h 1min | Drama, Mystery | 21 Oct 2020 (United Arab Emirates) | Movie
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 44% Rotten (Critic reviews) | 43% Rotten (Audience reviews)
Director: Ben Wheatley
Writer: Jane Goldman, Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse
Stars: Lily James, Armie Hammer, Jacques Bouanich, Marie Collins
IMDb summary: A young newlywed arrives at her husband’s imposing family estate on a windswept English coast and finds herself battling the shadow of his first wife, Rebecca, whose legacy lives on in the house long after her death.
We’ve reviewed this on our podcast which you can listen to right here but we decided to do a quick write-up on our website as well seeing it’s a current movie release and not a horror flick.
If you weren’t sure of where this story originated, it was taken and adapted from a novel first and it has been adapted to film several times. Probably the most famous version is by none other than Alfred Hitchcock himself! So this flick had big shoes to fill from the get-go. Does it measure up at all? Let’s find out…
Armie Hammer and Lily James portray the two leads; Armie Hammer is aristocrat Maxim De Winter and Lily James plays the young woman that falls for Maxim hook, line and sinker and becomes Mrs. De Winter.
Prior to that however, Lily James’ character is on the poorer side of the class scale and works as a Lady’s assistant (pretty much what you think a PA does today). She meets and falls for Mr De Winter while her employer is on holiday. One thing leads to another and the next thing you know, the two are hitched and heading for “Mandalay” which is the estate that Maxim owns.
We weren’t quite sure how Maxim came into all of his money but when Lily James’ character decides to revive an old tradition spearheaded in the past by the previous Mrs. De Winter, you can briefly see the invitations to their ball addressed as the Duke and Duchess. That doesn’t really have all that much of a bearing on events but it is a little interesting tidbit we thought some might miss.
So as this is classified as a thriller, you’d expect to be well, thrilled at least a few times throughout the film. But to be honest, there really isn’t much “thrilling” going on at all in which was a huge disappointment.
Hammer and James are delectable as the two leads and we don’t really think this movie fails to deliver as a result of their poor acting. They seem perfectly believable and as far as I could tell, their chemistry seemed legit. But the story just falls kind of flat. While the premise is exciting, we just didn’t get lifted to that point where we were wanting more.
Lily James is great at portraying a woman that is utterly and totally alone and as she gets attacked from every angle, you really do feel for her at the end. So taking up the role of a woman who was idolised by almost everyone that met or knew her is beyond James’ character to achieve. And while she struggles to hold onto some semblance of her sanity while there are some weird goings-on occurring inside the mansion, she was never going to take over from the woman that Maxim “loved” and lost after a fateful boat accident at sea. Lily James is just plain out of her depth completely in that regard.
Not to mention that every man that ever met the fabled “Rebecca” found her irresistible including her own cousin (eeww we know that’s weird). So we kind of feel a little sorry for Lily James who goes running into this debacle head-first without warning. As testament to her character however, she doesn’t let a little sleep walking or a ghost story keep her from being with the man she loves (which is charming but also really cheesy at the same time).
You might like the cheesiness and if so, more power to you but overall, we felt that the aspects of the film that should have thrilled us really didn’t and therefore, the cheesiness just ended up being one more thing that failed to entertain.