When the first trailer was released, I had no idea there was a 1940 black & white movie by Alfred Hitchcock no less. What drew my attention to this project was the cast Armie Hammer (Call Me by Your Name, The Social Network), Lily James (Cinderella) & Kristin Scott Thomas (Fleabag, Suite Française) but mostly Jane Goldman (Kingsman, Stardust) who adaptated a lot of movies I like.
This Rebecca is directed by Ben Wheatley (High-Rise) and rounding the cast we have Sam Riley (Radioactive, Maleficent), Ann Dowd (The Handmaid’s Tale), Keeley Hawes (Bodyguard), Mark Lewis Jones (Gangs of London, The Third Day), Tom Goodman-Hill (Everest, The Imitation Game), and Ben Compton (GoT, Before I Go to Sleep).
Both the Hitchcock and Wheatley movies are based on Daphne Du Maurier‘ novel “Rebecca”
Premise: A young newlywed arrives at her husband’s imposing family estate on a windswept English coast and finds herself battling the shadow of his first wife, Rebecca, whose legacy lives on in the house long after her death.
Review: It might be a combination of the vibe from the trailer and the mention of the Hitchcock version – which I’ve never seen – that made me think that Rebecca would have been scarier. It is a Dark-ish thriller but much lighter than what the premise and trailer suggested.
The story begins well enough, everything is honky dory before it takes a turn. That shift slowly comes, the movie takes a darker tone but it’s also where it starts to go awry. It’s not a complete shit-show but there’s shift in the story, and in some characters, that kind of come out of nowhere. More could have been done to smooth those transitions, and not have it feel like they sort of botched the end of the second act, and third act. However, the intention is clear, which is why this movie is entertain enough, but knowing what they were going for and see it poorly executed does not help.
By the way, I am not comparing this movie with the book I never read or the Hitchcock version I never watched, but I have to admit Wheatley’s version makes me curious to see the 1940 film.
As for the cast, I don’t have much to say, if you’re not nitpicky about Hammer’s accent, they did a decent job. Was it their best work? No but when the locations, costumes, and striking visuals makes more of an impression on you than the cast you’re in trouble. The movie looks gorgeous at times, particularly when they’re outside, to then look like an episode of a budget period drama, it’s a bit jarring.
Rebecca is a little uneven but still worth your time, it’s on the cusp of being great but doesn’t quite get there.
If you’re interested in the source material, he’d be a huge help if you get it from the link below: