The Beguiled | Sofia Coppola applies the female gaze to her Clint Eastwood remake

The Beguiled Kirsten Dunst as Edwina
(Image credit: Ben Rothstein / Focus Features)

The Beguiled Kirsten Dunst as Edwina

Innocent, until betrayed.

Sofia Coppola brings a distinctly female perspective to The Beguiled, an atmospheric remake of the 1971 Don Siegel-Clint Eastwood Southern Gothic melodrama about a wounded Union soldier who finds refuge in a girls’ boarding school in Virginia during the American Civil War.

Nursed back to health by Nicole Kidman’s headmistress, Colin Farrell’s Yankee is soon stirring up rivalries and jealousies, and sexual and romantic longings, among the women and girls. Throughout, Coppola keeps the film’s pressure-cooker tensions on the boil, introducing elements of suspense, sensuality and sometimes near-camp humour as Farrell’s Yankee seesaws between wheedling charm and howling rage, Kirsten Dunst’s spinster teacher yearns for escape, Elle Fanning’s schoolgirl flirts coquettishly, and even Kidman’s steely belle finds her resolve wavering.

Certificate 15. Runtime 94 mins. Director Sofia Coppola

The Beguiled is available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

"Striking photos by Sophie Caretta from the set of Sofia Coppola's The Beguiled"



Jason Best

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.