Netflix’s new film “Rebecca” has as much of a mysterious aura as the title character herself. Based on a gothic novel written by Daphne de Maurier in 1938, “Rebecca” revolves around a young woman (Lily James), who remains unnamed through the entire film, and her mysterious and temperamental new husband Mr. Maxim de Winter (Armie Hammer). The romance begins in a fairytale-like manner with an elopement in Europe. However, once they are married and arrive at the family home on the English coast, memories of Maxim’s late wife Rebecca begin to resurface, spoiling the romantic fantasy for the new Mrs. de Winter.
The housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers (Kristin Scott Thomas) makes it very clear that Rebecca cannot be replaced in her heart and spends a considerable amount of time convincing the new Mrs. de Winter that she is not worthy of the title. Although Mrs. de Winters seems to think the same privately, she remains in the household, determined to prove Danvers wrong.
Despite her efforts, everything Mrs. de Winter does only seems to anger her husband. After realizing Mrs. Danvers’ manipulative nature and unhealthy obsession with Rebecca, Mrs. de Winter stops trusting her and demands that Maxim explain everything about Rebecca. Maxim, who had been relatively closed off about his late wife, opens up to Mrs. de Winter, and all the pieces seem to come together before the film is even finished.
The film, directed by Ben Wheatley, primarily takes place at the enormous family estate, Manderly. The mood of the film switches very quickly as Mrs. de Winters discovers more about Rebecca. Bright and vibrant colors occupy nearly every scene toward the beginning of the film, but as the unnamed protagonist uncovers more information about Rebecca and how she died, the colors seem to become darker and more faded. The cinematography is definitely one of the most appealing aspects of this film.
The constant in this film is definitely how far Mrs. de Winter is willing to go for her husband. No matter what the cost could have been to her freedom and her life, she comes to Maxim’s defense, especially when it matters most.
At the conclusion of the film, Maxim notices how much his wife has changed, and I agree. It becomes very evident through her expressions and actions how much Mrs. de Winter has grown. James delivered an amazing performance about a woman who will truly do anything for love and whose insatiable curiosity drives the plot forward. If you are a fan of mysteries, “Rebecca” will definitely pique your interest.
Thumbnail photo courtesy of @netflixfilm on Instagram.