For those who know and revere the novel by Daphne Du Maurier, which is one of the great classics of gothic romance, this new incarnation of Rebecca, from director Ben Wheatley, is a valiant reinterpretation that is truer to the book than it is to the Hitchcock film, which is as is should be. While some might argue that a new version of the story is unnecessary, it fills the holes in our imagination as to how the story plays out. For example, the early romance portrayed between our ever-unnamed heroine (Lilly James) and Max de Winter (Armie Hammer) offers a sensuality and easy rapport that better explains his quick proposal.
If we need any more rationale as to why someone would jump at marrying Armie Hammer (errrr, Max de Winter) Ann Down as Mrs. Van Hopper gives a multitude of reasons as to why our heroine would run into the arms of the man rescuing her from this strident, condescending, and very pretentious employer.
Much of the more traumatic action is suggested as nightmares through which our heroine is wading, and appropriately so. From the beginning, her experiences seem like a dream. Manderley is expressed as a sort of dream location, from her memory. We never really know if her reality is real life. The writer, director, and actor James, conspiring to make our heroine an everywoman we can relate to is a great move. When we reach the moment Mrs. Danvers tries to talk her out of the window, we really understand why she considers it. She might have a fatal case of imposter syndrome. We are also lulled into rationalizing all is acceptable when our heroine decides to cover the tracks of dishonorable doings by those she cares about.
For the entire movie review, go to AWFJ.org HERE.