BY SIDDHIKA PRAJAPATI
Eight decades past, a British director was employed to Hollywood, where on his first project; he was tasked with devising an evolution of the most sizzling unique novel on the shelves: Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. In addition, instantly, in 2020, another filmmaker with a propensity for the offensive has come beating on the door. However, Ben Wheatley is no Alfred Hitchcock, and his Rebecca is simply a mannequin, a robotic fascination needing a soul.
Perhaps that is why the film seems more preoccupied with the costumes, more concentrations on the bells and whistles rather than obtaining a heart. It is more of an impression that is being designed for sharing not on Netflix, but most probably on some other social media section such as Instagram.
Based on this pattern alone, the new Rebecca is a lot like Baz Luhrmann’s extravagant The Great Gatsby, although that movie caught the spirit of the reference material more favourably to praise for.
Both movies start in Monte Carlo, where an unnamed woman (performed by a feisty Lily James) and the rich man Maxim de Winter (a dull Armie Hammer) board on a whirlwind love adventure that ends at the shrine. De Winter is a widowed man, visibly grappling with the loss of his first spouse, Rebecca. She is never seen, but her specter pervades in every scene, assembled as it is a striking consistency by Mrs Danvers, the caretaker of de winters’ estate.
It is in Manderley’s large rooms and vacant halls, and along with its lush gardens and stunning shores that most of the story unfolds. It is the kind of film that you could rest at any moment, rip out the irregular frame and post it on your Instagram stories without so much as a complex edit.
Watch the trailer here–
Kristin Scott Thomas impersonates the dour Mrs Danvers, stubborn, as ever, to not let the new Mrs de Winter to prove herself as the woman of the house. Danvers’ fidelity, still lies with the deceased Rebecca. It is the most intriguing role in the film, and Scott Thomas’ performance benefits transcend Danvers’ vicious origins and mold her into a more sensitive character.
Possibly, thanks to the screenwriter Jane Goldman, Wheatley is able to draw to the surface the LGBTQ story that was so brutally died out in Hitchcock’s film. Much has been written about du Maurier’s sensuality, but until now, it was never made a powerful theme in the various modifications of her work.
Wheatley is mostly performing by the rules here, and although he has never been one to check himself, his Rebecca is likewise weak to truly reach out among the flurry of renowned Netflix pictures that will stumble upon our homepages in the following weeks. However, even he cannot improve himself on a pair of occasions. The first appears midway through the film while Wheatley cranks up the Gothic terror and arts a bizarre party scene that prompted a related one that he showed in his adaptation of JG Ballard’s High Rise.
After having examined the film, I can assume that Danvers’ updated arc is the single explanation for the film’s permanence. Rebecca is affectionate fiction, of that there is no uncertainty. It is merely not a love story between the characters we believed it was about.
Those included in making Rebecca insist that it is not a remake, but rather new compliance of du Maurier’s novel. Describe it what you desire to — a re-fantasizing, a revision— just do not name it as a remake.