A veteran tracker with the Fish and Wildlife Service helps to investigate the murder of a young Native American woman, and uses the case as a means of seeking redemption for an earlier act of irresponsibility which ended in tragedy.
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Though set in Virginia, the film repeatedly includes exterior shots of trees with hanging moss. Hanging moss does not grow in any part of Virginia. The latitude of Virginia is far too north. See more »
A Surprisingly Funny Period Piece on Desire and a Man's Corrupting Influence on Women
If you've ever wondered how it would look to watch a group of women ranging in age from 12 to 40something all compete sexually over the same man, wonder no more. The Beguiled delivers that, with a twistthe story takes place during the Civil War at a school for girls.
As you can imagine, the women and younger girls all behave in a way befitting the old-fashioned version of proper. Their boldest displays of seduction involve putting on a necklace and slightly revealing their self-proclaimed "lovely shoulders." I believe exposed midriffs or cleavage-baring tops may have been jailable offenses for women during this time period; I would have to check the history books to confirm that.
What I'm saying is the women's displays of sexual pursuit toward this male stranger are hilariously tame by 2017's standards. And that's the point. This story of refined women who are deceived and corrupted by a mysterious male soldier would have been viewed as a tale of cautionary horror tale in the late 1800s. Today much of the movie plays as a comedy.
One scene involving the head of household, the oldest woman (played by Nicole Kidman), giving the soldier a sponge bath is pure comedic gold.
The execution of the story, while subtle, deserves praise. All actions and subsequent reactions of the characters are appropriately tame. While this makes sense given the subject matter, it does put a cap on the excitement level. The climactic scene is the equivalent of a golf clap, classy and satisfying, but ultimately falling short of wowing.
That's basically the movie in a nutshell: outwardly displays of class and grace with clear hints of molten lava bubbling beneath the surface. The characters keep hidden all their visceral urges and thoughts behind a mask of politeness. It's up to the viewers to see through the deception.
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