Movie #314 2020: Rebecca (2020)

Another new release?! I mean, this is a remake and an adaptation of a famous novel, but still. It’s new. We love to see it.

Rebecca is the latest adaptation of Daphne du Maurier‘s best-selling book of the same name. Directed by Ben Wheatley (A Field in England), we find ourselves within a very sinister love story. When the female protagonist (Lily James) falls in love with the widowed Maxim de Winter (Armie Hammer), they quickly move in to the family estate known as Manderley. What James’ character doesn’t expect is that the staff there are all still very much in love with Rebecca – de Winter’s deceased wife – and she finds that she cannot escape Rebecca’s shadow.

I’ll admit it: I’ve never seen Alfred Hitchcock‘s Rebecca. Infuriatingly, it’s extremely hard to find either a stream or a DVD copy of the film for reasons unknown. I’m also that basic bitch who’s never read the du Maurier book either, so I truly went in blind here. Judging by other reviews, that fact can really sway the way in which you see this movie in that there’s a lot of love for the Hitchcock version and the book on which it is based. In that regard, perhaps going in blind helped me to overlook some of the film’s misgivings, so the rest of this review will be pretty much how a complete Rebecca virgin perceives the movie.

Not every negative can be overlooked, of course. Cast-wise, both of the leads were really not that interesting or magnetic, unfortunately. Kristin Scott Thomas, however, steals the entire fucking show. She just has this unexplainable presence that commands attention every time she’s in the frame. Brilliant performance from her at least, and again, whilst the leads weren’t exactly exciting, their work here is adequate.

On the positive side, the costuming and the musical score are extremely well done, as they often are in these period type dramas. The soundtrack is especially anxiety-inducing, even if the action on screen isn’t always as creepy as du Maurier herself may have intended. That’s not a slander of the source material, however, but more of a critique of how Wheatley has failed to create a more sinister atmosphere.

Speaking of atmosphere, I’m sure there are better examples of tension in other adaptations. Despite that, there is a slight sense of intrigue that keeps the viewer gripped throughout. For me, it was really interesting to see the events unfold – especially because I had no idea what would happen by the end. Sadly, I don’t really remember what happened at all; another injustice to the source material, I’m afraid.

Although it does come with adequate intrigue, the script is weirdly paced and it all makes the ending seem highly anti-climactic. Whilst the film is certainly entertaining enough, it will leave you wanting more by its conclusion. However, this partial miss just makes me all the more keen to see Hitchcock’s take on this. But again… I can’t bloody find it anywhere!

Rebecca is available to stream on Neflix in the UK.

TQR Category Ratings:

Costume & Set Design: 
Overall Enjoyability Rating: 

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