Rebecca (Subtitled) (12A)Cast: Keeley Hawes, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Armie Hammer
Author(s): Jane Goldman, Anna Waterhouse, Joe Shrapnel
Director: Ben Wheatley
Release Date: 16/10/2020 (selected cinemas)
Running Time: 122mins
Handsome widower Maxim de Winter welcomes a new wife to his home, Manderlay, which remains in the iron grip of menacing housekeeper Mrs Danvers and the memory of the master's late wife. As the new Mrs de Winter strives to live up to her predecessor, she must win the approval of house staff including estate manager Frank Crawley and Maxim's sister Beatrice. A terrible sadness lingers in the corridors of Manderlay and dark secrets bubble to the surface near an old, abandoned boat house.
LondonNet Film Review
Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley – the sweeping, impeccably designed Manderley captured in stunning black and white by cinematographer George Barnes in the Oscar-winning 1940 film of Rebecca directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Distinguished by powerful performances from Sir Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine and Judith Anderson as menacing housekeeper Mrs Danvers, the first big screen adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s novel masterfully conjured an air of menace. It was Hitchcock’s first foray into filmmaking across the Atlantic and revelled in the ambiguity of the relationship between the Danvers and her mistress within the rigid moral guidelines of the Hays Code…
I longed to be back there, at that Manderley, while watching Ben Wheatley’s stylish whirl through a household haunted by the past. His rendition, adapted for the screen by Jane Goldman, Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse, relies heavily on the source text for narrative structure but takes full advantage of modern-day technical wizardry for visual flourishes including an ominous flock of birds swirling in the sky – a nod to Hitchcock, perhaps.
Lily James plays the painfully naive, unnamed narrator, who arrives at Hotel Regina in Monte Carlo to cater to the whims of monstrous society doyenne, Mrs Van Hopper (Ann Dowd). When her mistress falls ill, the companion is left to her own devices and unexpectedly sparks romance with handsome widower Maxim de Winter (Armie Hammer). Mrs Van Hopper attempts to end the affair by hurriedly returning to America. Maxim intervenes – “Come with me to Manderley… as my wife” – and the lovebirds marry en route to his ancestral nest in England. The household is in the iron grip of glowering housekeeper Mrs Danvers (Kristin Scott Thomas) and the memory of the master’s late wife, Rebecca.
As the new Mrs de Winter strives to live up to her predecessor, she yearns to win the approval of Maxim’s sister Beatrice (Keeley Hawes) and staff including estate manager Frank Crawley (Tom Goodman-Hill) and head butler Firth (Jeff Rawle). However, a terrible sadness lingers in the corridors of Manderley and Mrs Danvers silently schemes to undermine anyone who threatens to usurp her beloved Rebecca in Maxim’s affections. “He can’t love you because you’re not her!” the housekeeper snarls at her new mistress.
Running a few minutes shorter than Hitchcock’s version, Rebecca suffers the same fate as its brittle heroine and struggles to escape from the shadow of its formidable predecessor. Emotionally it’s a decidedly chilly affair, even between James and Hammer, and the film’s pulse only begins to quicken when a meticulously tailored Scott Thomas makes her insidious presence felt. Composer Clint Mansell’s atmospheric soundtrack is a willing accomplice to Wheatley as he builds inexorably to big reveals about Rebecca’s grim fate.
– Sarah Lee
London Cinemas Showing Rebecca (Subtitled)
UK and Irish Cinemas Showing Rebecca (Subtitled)
From: Friday 16th October
To: Thursday 22nd October
Mon 14:30 17:30 20:30
From: Friday 23rd October
To: Thursday 29th October
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