'Rebecca': Movie Review
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REBECCA (2020) is a faithful remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 movie based on a famous novel about a young woman who marries a prominent Englishman who’s still haunted by the mysterious death of his wife, Rebecca. REBECCA is well cast and entertaining, with excellent production values and a strong moral worldview, but MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for teenagers for some suggestive scenes and brief foul language.
REBECCA begins in Monte Carlo where a wealthy New York woman, Mrs. Van Hopper, and her hired travel companion, a young but poor blonde woman, take a vacation. Mrs. Van Hopper desires to strike up conversation with the famous Maxim de Winter of England. He reluctantly obliges since he seems to want to have time alone, but soon develops a friendship with Mrs. Van Hopper’s travel companion one morning over breakfast.
The two spark a romance while Mrs. Van Hopper lays in bed ill. One morning, though, Mrs. Van Hopper is up and chipper and preparing to go home to New York. Her travel companion runs to tell Maxim of her leaving, but he offers a solution, a marriage proposal. Mrs. Van Hopper acts supportive of the news once Maxim tells her, but ultimately, she’s doubtful that her companion is up to the task of running Maxim’s big family estate, Manderley.
Once back from their honeymoon, the de Winters are greeted by the staff of Manderley and at the helm is Mrs. Danvers, the head maid of the former Mrs. De Winter, Rebecca. As the new Mrs. De Winter assimilates to her new home, it seems that memories and chatter of Rebecca continue to circulate. Also, Mrs. Danvers has an obvious and obsessive loyalty and devotion to Rebecca. This sparks some paranoia from the new Mrs. de Winter. Perhaps Rebecca is everything she isn’t – beautiful, well-read, capable, and charming.
After some time at Manderley and some tensions between an internal competition with the late Rebecca, Mrs. De Winter decides to revive a masquerade ball at Manderley complete with all of Maxim de Winter’s pals and colleagues. However, when she presents herself in her custom-made outfit, Maxim snaps because, apparently, it’s identical to a dress Rebecca wore at the same masquerade ball. Will the new Mrs. de Winter ever learn the truth about Rebecca’s sudden death or have a prayer of living up to her deceased competition?
Fans of Hitchcock’s masterful REBECCA will appreciate the beat by beat similarities in this Netflix remake. However, due to the time periods of the two movies, there are a few differences, mainly when it comes to showing on screen romantic affection. However, the filmmakers do a solid job of making the movie feel like a period piece while upping the stakes of the story to intrigue modern audiences.
The casting in REBECCA is sublime. Lily James (CINDERELLA) and Armie Hamer (CARS 3) lead the cast with ease. Mrs. Danvers and Mrs. Van Hopper are well-cast too, with veteran actresses Kristen Scott-Thomas and Ann Dowd, respectfully. REBECCA has a good entertainment value too and noticeably fabulous production values, with great use of montage editing.
REBECCA has a strong moral worldview. The new Mrs. de Winter wants nothing more than to love her husband and be a good wife. She also tries to pursue the truth. The Mrs. Danvers character displays pagan qualities. She tries to make things go the way her evil heart desires, but it’s clear she’s the antagonist. REBECCA merits caution for suggestive scenes and brief foul language. The movie will be available on the Netflix streaming site six days after its theatrical release.
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