Monday, June 19, 2017

Sofia Coppola's "The Beguiled"

I don’t usually go to movies, but I couldn’t resist seeing Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled, sure to be this year’s most-talked-about film just opening across America. I wasn’t surprised it was breaking box office records here in Brooklyn, because the crowd in front of my local theater was abuzz. In fact, I'm shocked there weren't more conversations like this one I overheard:

TEEN GIRL: How about if we go see Wonder Woman again?

TEEN BOY: I don’t know. The flick is good but I kind of feel like it's not, you know, beguiling enough.

The film is about a hunky young soldier (Colin Farrell) who suffers an injury during the Civil War and finds care at a school for young girls (Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning) run by a frigid spinster (Nicole Kidman). Immediately sexual tensions develop and the audience is left to wonder: just who is beguiling whom?

I don’t want to give away any spoilers but I’ve got to say that everyone in the audience, regardless of age, income or background, got completely immersed in the film. In fact, just before the film’s startling climax, a streetwise thug behind me shrieked, "Uh-oh, looks like somebody’s getting BEGUILED!“

While who's the beguiler and who's the beguilee is left up in the air, I have to applaud the film for provoking a conversation we desperately need. Leaving the theater I must have heard fourteen couples arguing a variation of this:

TEEN GIRL: I think it takes a certain innocent charm, like that possessed by Elle Fanning, to truly be considered beguiling.

TEEN BOY: What are you talking about? Ain’t nobody beguile like Colin Farrell.

I’ll leave this discussion to more erudite critics and just repeat what other audience members told me.

"Sofia Coppola is such a genius she can literally change language," said Martina D. "I see 'beguile‘ for Brooklyners as that next gotta-have word bridging the gap between 'bewitch‘ and 'dupe.‘"

"Sometimes I do things of dubious legality,“ admitted someone who didn’t want to be named. "I’d like to thank Sofia Coppola for letting me know that since I’m sexy I’m not just a thief.“

"That film was the bomb,“ said Stuart T. "My next tattoo is going to be captioned with the word BEGUILE, if I can figure out a way to illustrate it using dogs."

"I think this film presents an important lesson for kids today," said Samantha R., a schoolteacher. "They already know they can be robbed, cheated or swindled. Hopefully this alerts them to the possibility of getting beguiled, bamboozled or even hornswoggled.“

"That’s it,“ concluded beaming Briana E., a pregnant teen. "I’m naming my daughter Beguile. I can’t believe how stupid Inveigle sounds to me now.“

Anyway, two big claps for Sofia Coppola, and let’s hope this film is the start of a whole new franchise. I don’t dare pretend to inspire the young auteur but I’ll bet everybody in this borough would run to see The Diddled, The Entranced, or Hey, Who’s That Come Hither Girl?

3 comments:

Yet Another Steve said...

WHY am I not reading this in the NEW YORKER?

RomanHans said...

I think they have standards?

Yet Another Steve said...

"When They Beguile The Beguine"

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