Movie Review: The Beguiled (M18)
Sofia Coppola has been criticised for whitewashing history after eliminating the black slave character Mattie from the drama, based on Thomas Cullinan's 1966 novel.
In a statement, Coppola said her point was to focus on white women in isolation, cut off from the world and in denial of a changing world.
Set in 1864, towards the end of the Civil War, the story unfolds when Amy (Oona Laurence), a student at Miss Farnsworth's Seminary for Young Ladies, stumbles across a badly wounded Union soldier, Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell), in the woods.
Amy brings him back to the school, where its headmistress (Nicole Kidman) and teacher (Kirsten Dunst) nurse him back to health.
His presence quickly ruffles feathers among the girls, and causes a sexual awakening, particularly for teenaged Alicia (Elle Fanning).
Coppola keeps the story and setting simple, letting her actresses do all the work. Led by Kidman, they indeed turn in outstanding performances.
The Beguiled won Coppola best director at this year's Cannes Film Festival.