Sofia Coppola won the director’s prize at Cannes for this hugely enjoyable melodrama that more or less allows bodices to remain unripped until an uproarious third act. A handsome, wounded Union soldier, Cpl John McBurney, is stranded in enemy terrain during the American civil war and throws himself at the mercy of a ladies’ seminary. These southern belles collectively experience a sexual nervous breakdown that has delirious hints of Black Narcissus.
As screenwriter, Coppola worked from the original novel by Thomas P Cullinan and the 1971 Don Siegel movie starring Clint Eastwood. Yet Coppola tells her version with gusto and wit. Colin Farrell plays McBurney, and his
performance is more human,uman, more vulnerable than Eastwood’s. ’s. Discovered in woodland by 11-year-old d Miss Amy (a smart performance from Oona a Laurence), he persuades her to take e him to the school. There, the principalcipal Martha (Nicole Kidman) and her er subordinate Edwina (Kirsten Dunst) ) are dismayed but also moved by his plight.
We get a glorious staircase ircase scene, with someone actually falling down two separate flights. Wee get a necklace wrenched from a femaleemale neck, so that the beads roll calamitouslyalamitously over the floor. We even have a gunshot that brings a chandelier delier crashing down. The Beguiled d has teasing flecks of noir and black comedy.