Film Review: The Tale Of Two Mrs. De Winters

A New Rebecca Strives for Gothic Romance But Comes Up Short | Time

Rebecca is a thriller recently released on Netflix. Ben Wheatley serves with director of this latest adaptation of the novel written by Daphne de Maurier in 1938. The screenplay was written by Jane Goldman, Joe Shrapnel, and Anna Waterhouse. The cast includes Lily James, Armie Hammer, and Kristin Scott Thomas.

It didn’t occur to me at the time, but the name of the second Mrs. de Winter is never revealed. So, a flirtation begins between the paid companion of some rich American woman vacationing in Monte Carlo and a very wealthy British widower with the rather cool name of Maxim de Winter develops into something considerably more. The two lovebirds suddenly get married and the new Mrs. de Winter is brought to a lavish estate known as Manderley. Mrs. de Winter is introduced to the staff of servants and runs into some hostility from the head housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers. The second Mrs. De Winter learns of the tragic demise of her predecessor and senses her presence throughout the estate. Mrs. Danvers certainly seems to have a rather strong preference for the original Mrs. de Winter. Anyway, more secrets are revealed as the story plods along, and it seems that the first Mrs. de Winter left a very unsettling legacy for her successor to figure out.

I have not read the book and have meant to view the 1940 version directed by the great Alfred Hitchcock, so strangely enough, this version was my first full exposure to the story of the de Winter estate. I will just say on the outset that I was rather disappointed. It’s not that this is a terrible movie. but I had hoped it was much better. My major complaint is the slowness of the unveiling of secrets at times. The cast seemed to have been well chosen. I have no real issue with performances. The actual set design and location are amazing. It isn’t like nothing in this movie works, yet it seems to still fall flat for me somehow. I just got that sense that I was not missing much if I had not seem this film. I think the initial courtship between the two main characters did not seem all that realistic and interesting. The story itself was somewhat intriguing, but that just made me interested in the original novel. I guess some purposes of the film were served if it grabbed my attention that much, however this particular adaptation was still seemed to be a pretty average effort overall. It’s not a film that needs to be avoided at all costs, but I certainly would have been more disappointed had I gone to the big screen for this.

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