Over the last 18 years Sofia Coppola has confined her directorial focus to a world that she knows like the back of her hand — a realm of privileged, apolitical younger white women living in a well-tended world provided by family or marriage, and not getting laid all that much. The Virgin Suicides (’99), Lost in Translation (’03), Marie Antoinette (’06), Somewhere (’10), The Bling Ring (’10) and The Beguiled (’17). (I’m ignoring A Very Murray Christmas, which I hated.)
My favorite was and still is Somewhere, in part because it felt Antonioni-esque, and because the main character (Stephen Dorff‘s) is ill-defined in a nihilistic sort of way. I admired the ballsiness of Coppola investing in his melancholia while avoiding a three-act “story”.
The Beguiled opens this Friday (6.23). I wasn’t exactly blown away when I saw it in Cannes. “Whoa, calm down on the ‘terrifically entertaining’,” I said to a friend. “It’s pretty good, but not all that different from Don Siegel‘s The Beguiled (’71). Less heated with more emphasis on suggestive humor. And shorter than the Siegel version by 11 minutes, 94 minutes vs. Siegel’s 105. Which I rather liked.
“Yes, the apple pie scene is amusing if not quite ‘funny’. I think Nicole Kidman barking ‘get the saw!’ was meant to challenge Faye Dunaway shouting ‘get the axe!’ in Mommie Dearest.”