Ben Wheatley takes the director’s chair for ‘Rebecca‘ an adaption of the romantic thriller novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier. It was released in 2020 on Netflix.
A young woman (Lily James) meets the wealthy widower Maxim de Winter (Armie Hammer), whose wife Rebecca died a year prior. After a whirlwind romance in Monte Carlo, he marries her and whisks her away to his family estate Manderley. She is greeted by the cold-hearted Mrs. Danvers (Kristin Scott Thomas) who is still mourning the death of Rebecca. The new Mrs. de Winter meets Maxim’s sister Beatrice (Keeley Hawes), estate manager Frank (Tom Goodman-Hill), and others in his inner circle. As Mrs. de Winter walks the halls of Manderley, it becomes apparent that Rebecca’s presence continues to haunt the estate, especially when the young wife learns of a dark secret.
Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca is one of my favorite novels. It is a true masterpiece and a classic that merged the Gothic thriller with a touch of romance. As far as films go, this one was a good adaption.
It definitely captured the spirit of the book and followed the plot pretty closely. Some things toward the climax were altered, but it stayed true to the original and definitely stuck to the roots of the story. This was a good decision by the filmmakers as it connected it with ease and adapted it in a way that pays tribute. A few novel plot points were glossed over, but it was nothing that the movie did not handle well.
My only sharp criticism is that there was this song that played twice in the film, once when Mrs. de Winter arrives at Manderley and later during a crucial party scene. The song did not match the sequences and took you out of the moment. The rest of the score and music was fine, but this particular song felt out of place with the rest of the movie.
This feature lives up to its billing as a thriller, particularly how it duplicates the gaslighting its protagonist goes through, along with capturing the themes of living in someone’s shadow. It balanced out these facets and tropes well, especially with keeping to the times with fashion and scenery. You are hooked from its traditional opening to its shocking climax.
As for the cast, Armie Hammer delivers a good performance as Maxim. He is mysterious, brooding, but also compassionate. Hammer allows himself to explore the role and making him life-like. Likewise, Kristin Scott Thomas was perfect as the manipulative Mrs. Danvers. Even down to her expressions, she showed the dark nature of the villainess. The movie slightly alters her fate from the novel, but not in an intrusive way.
The watershed acting, however, came from Lily James as Mrs. de Winter. She does such an amazing job in the role and truly brought the character to life. You felt her frustration, her suspicions, and ultimately her fear. She is a sharp and talented actress who proved her mad skills in this role.
Bottom line, Rebecca is a thrilling film that keeps the spirit of the original novel and keeps you hooked to the screen. It has an impressive and talented cast who all serve to make this an enjoyable film.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Minor foul language, Brief sexual content, Violence, Disturbing images
FAVORITE QUOTE: Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.
Check out the trailer below:
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my movie reviews of Obamagate and The Frozen Ground. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.