Rebecca premiered on 21 October 2020 on Netflix and is directed by Ben Wheatley with a screenplay by Jane Goldman, Joe Shrapnel, and Anna Waterhouse. Adapted from the 1938 novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier, the movie stars Lily James, Armie Hammer, Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Goodman-Hill, Keeley Hawes, Sam Riley, and Ann Dowd.
Ghost or Human Iniquitous
Rebecca revolves around a girl whose name is never revealed in the 121-minute long film, she is either addressed as Lady’s Companion or Mrs. de Winter (played by Lily James). The Lady’s Companion gradually falls in love with Mr. Maxim de Winters, an influential man who is a widower, is rich, and respected.
However, as their relationship starts growing, the Lady she works for decides to take off for New York and brings her employee’s attention to how her ‘love story’ is clearly visible and is being talked about. Shattered, Lady’s Companion decides to meet Maxim one last time and tells him everything that’s happening and it is here that he decides that he’ll marry her so that she doesn’t have to take off with the shrewd lady.
Weirdly enough, as they travel back to Manderly, Maxim’s behaviour notably changes, and he never mentions his previous marriage with Rebecca to his new wife (now Mrs. de Winters) and her insecurities grow when she sees her name everywhere (on linen, hairbrush, and more). Whilst all this, the wicked housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers (Kristin Scott Thomas), who was Rebecca’s companion since childhood, would go to any extent to make Mrs. de Winters feel like an outcast in the garb of a helper.
What follows is Mrs. de Winter’s constant attempts to be a part of the huge family name, her fears, and facing belittling behaviour time and again. The story that starts as a pure and interesting love story takes a turn towards a gothic film and further grows into a romance-thriller. So, there is no single genre you can bind this movie to.
An important aspect of the movie is that everything is in the past as it is a dream sequence overall and our protagonist, Mrs. de Winters, is a passive protagonist as the movie is, more or less, driven by other characters. It is only at the ending of the movie where she takes charge of the situation and decides to sort things out.
For the most part of her journey in Manderly, Mrs. Danvers is a schadenfreude who continues her quest to make things impossible for her but the passive Mrs. de Winters doesn’t help the plot much other than just existing like a damsel in distress. Furthermore, if it was not for Maxim and Mrs. Danvers, the storyline would have been bland.
We never see Rebecca’s identity, neither do we come to know the new Mrs. de Winters’s name. While these may seem trivial in the wider scheme of things, it becomes a mandatory detail to build a character background. Throughout the movie, you will find yourself somewhere in the middle of not knowing who to root for and if there’s really a ghost in the empty mansion where the servants just move their eyeballs.
The film has got almost everything in place ranging from scenic locations to an amazing cast, but the only place it lacks is the screenplay. It feels that there are a lot of loose ends and missed points that should have been taken note of. However, the movie will manage to have your attention in the starting as the lead characters’ love blossoms or when you meet the melancholic Mrs. Danvers. But other than that it is just tiresome and drags quite a bit.
Stream It or Skip It
“It’s a ghost story with no ghosts.” – Armie Hammer
SKIP IT! Rebecca overall is a passable movie that has been carried down from the 1938 novel which was adapted by Alfred Hitchcock in 1940. It is a better as a black and white watch which bagged the Best Picture Award at the Oscars. The remake, however, fails to work the charm. With a strong cast and feeble storytelling, the film has nothing you would want to take with yourself by the end of it. In an attempt to contemporize the gothic novel, the film might have gone overboard and therefore, the whole what-is-this situation happens!
Rebecca is now streaming on Netflix.
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