For her aesthetically impeccable drama about the devil within us, Coppola won the Best Director award at the 70th Cannes Festival.
In the midst of the US civil war, a young southerner Amy—a student at a girls' school in Virginia—comes across a wounded Union Army corporal John McBurney, as she walks through the woods. Recovering at the school, the corporal soon realizes he’s in luck: one after another, its inhabitants fall for his charms. Tension rises as empathy and warmth give way to jealousy, deceit and bitterness.
Coppola’s picture is a remake of Don Siegel’s 1971 film of the same name, which was based on Thomas P. Cullinan’s novel and starred Clint Eastwood— and she pays due respect to the original’s Southern Gothic charm with its decadent mood, its picturesque landscapes and thought-through costumes. The cunning seducer (played by Colin Farrell) and his victims (Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning) seem to inhabit an enchanted world, similar to and yet distant from our own, where—like in Coppola’s earlier The Virgin Suicides and Marie Antoinette—stories develop in a very unlikely and yet entirely possible way.
Dir. Sofia Coppola, USA, 2017. 93 min.