Now showing on Netflix.
Directed by Ben Wheatley, with a screenplay by Jane Goldman and Joe Shrapnel we have the latest adaptation of Daphne De Maurier’s Novel.
A young orphan and companion of a wealthy lady meets the recently widowed Maxim De Winter while holidaying in Monte Carlo, their relationship blossoms and after their whirlwind romance they marry and head back to De Winters highly regarded sprawling estate Manderley. The new Mrs. De Winter finds the home less than welcoming and while she doesn’t believe in ghosts, the house is haunted by the spirit of the titular Rebecca at every turn. A spirit that will certainly not die while the house is run by the ominous Mrs. Danvers. However, all is not as it seems around Rebecca’s death.
I’ve never read De Maurier’s novel and Alfred Hitchcock 1940 classic adaptation is certainly not fresh in the mind. This probably helped as I had no real expectations for this version.
It’s certainly not perfect, but there was enough to intrigue and enjoy. Lily James and Kristen Scott Thomas both deliver in the central roles, Thomas’s Danvers particularly ensures a dark edge remains throughout. James counters that bringing a believable balance between the needed naivety at the start, to the determination towards the end that the new Mrs De Winter character needs.
However, it did feel a little unevenly paced, with a slow and patient first act, a second act that did a good job of ramping up the tension in true psychological thriller style, but the final act seemed to squeeze a lot into it including a jarring tonal shift from psychological thriller to detective drama which didn’t wholly work for me.
If you’re going to compare this to Hitchcock’s classic you’re probably going to be disappointed. But if you take it on its own merits you’ll find a more than competent psychological drama, stunning cinematography and a rather good performance from Kristen Scott Thomas to enjoy.