Monday, February 15, 2021

Netflicks Picks: Rebecca

As many of you are aware, I have been spending a lot of my free time watching movies and TV shows online. Sometimes I catch good ones, sometimes not so much. Other times, I am not so sure. The Netflix movie Rebecca, starring Lily James and Armie Hammer, is one of those movies.

Labeled as a romantic thriller, Rebecca is based on a novel of the same name that was published in 1938 and was turned into a film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1940. The story revolves around a young woman who meets and falls in love with a rich widower named Maxim de Winter. The two have a whirlwind romance and end up married, and she is introduced to his household as the new Mrs. de Winter.

As the new lady of the house, she attempts to befriend the housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, who is hostile to her from the first time that they met. Mrs. Danvers even manages to set her up to fail twice to anger her husband, and she realizes that she is in over her head with the situation that she had married herself into. 

I know that it is supposed to be a thriller, but it did not feel as much to me. It was attempting to, that was obvious, but it just did not have enough to make it feel scary or creepy to me. The sets were amazing, the costumes and the lighting were wonderful, but apart from that, I did not feel entertained while I was watching the movie. I felt like I was waiting for something that just did not happen. 

I felt that there was more that could have been done or established with the mystery of the first Mrs. de Winter’s death, who was named Rebecca. The complexity of her character could have been more emphasized along with the events that lead to her death. Armie Hammer was puzzling enough as the charming yet mysterious Maxim but sometimes it fell flat. Although I have to admit that given his recent controversies, watching this movie again might give him a creepier look now that I have seen the alleged messages and photos from his supposed finsta (fake Instagram aka secret personal Instagram account). 

Lily James played the naïve Mrs. de Winters well. She was so in love and charmed by this man with wealth and good looks that she did not think twice about marrying him and going away with him even if she barely knew who he was – to the point that in the end after everything she still joined him for their “happily ever after.” 

Kristin Scott Thomas, who played Mrs. Danvers was probably the best actor in this film. She was able to show the bitterness she felt from Rebecca’s death, the loss of the young girl that she practically brought up, and her anger that she was replaced. Unfortunately, I did not think that it was established well enough why she would go to the extremes that she did in the end (or why she even stayed after Rebecca died, for that matter). 

There were scenes where ghostly events were happening, but for the most part, they did not make sense to me and I do not think that they led to anywhere in the story except as a space filler. I really wish they could have tied things together a little better.

Rebecca was a visual treat if you like films from that particular era, but if you are looking for a really good story and you were hoping to get some scare factor in, this might not be the movie for you. 

If you want to view it with renewed interest in Armie Hammer and the controversies he has been in, I think the knowledge of his alleged creepy behavior would be helpful in having the effect on you that the movie is obviously trying to give.


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