Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Red-Pilled Southern Gothic

The Beguiled (2017) is a tight, atmospheric, suspenseful, and thoroughly enjoyable film set in Virginia towards the end of the War of Northern Aggression. With society having had basically collapsed, the Southern Gothic an almost post-apocalyptic feel. It's plot centers on a wounded Yankee soldier who is taken in by the Southron women and young ladies at an all but abandoned Catholic boarding school for girls. Let us just say that things do not go as expected.

In addition to those charms, the film gives an accurate portrayal of the inner works of male and female hindbrains, even that of the youngest and most innocent girl in the film, and what happens when we do not keep in check our baser instincts. This Christianity Today review hints at that — ‘The Beguiled’ Reveals the Cracks in Our Imagined Selves.

As a snobbish cineaste, I can say the film's Palme d'Or at the Festival de Cannes. I was beguiled, however, as to why the film's reception, while good, was not as stellar as it should have been. Take this review from USA Today, a dumbed-down newspaper for dumbed-down populace — Sofia Coppola's mundane 'Beguiled' is much ado about nothing.

I doubt film critics are smart enough to notice my red pill interpretation. (Heck, even the director likely did not see this, but I stick to my interpretation as one of the tenets of postmodern criticism is that the work stands apart from its creator.) These stories suggest why critics needed to be careful praising the film — Sophia Coppola’s “Beguiled” So White and Sofia Coppola asked Kirsten Dunst to lose weight for ‘The Beguiled’.

The "so white" angle is not even worth countering, as if you're a white director, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't include black characters, as the directress indicates if you read between the lines in this story — Sofia Coppola Addresses The Beguiled's All-White Cast Controversy. Said the directress, "I left some things out from the original movie and book where they felt exploitative," mentioning "a very stereotypical 'sassy' slave character that I didn’t want to spotlight." Only receasting this character as a Magical Negress would have satisfied the critics.

As to asking the actress to lose weight, sorry but Ms. Durst suggesting it being "so much harder when you’re 35 and hate working out" and "eating fried chicken and McDonald’s before work" are not really valid excuses for the art. Robert De Niro is but one actor that comes to mind for having radically transformed his physique for a role. For the sake of verisimilitude, with the women and girls surviving on their own farming, they should have been rather emaciated. The least believable part of the film was the Union Soldier's fawning over Durst's character's "delicate beauty" when in profile she had a double chin. I was fawning over her "delicate beauty" just six years ago in one of my favorite films ever, Melancholia (2011), but there seems to have been a lot of "fried chicken and McDonald’s" in the intervening years.

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