Official release poster
|Directed by||Ben Wheatley|
by Daphne du Maurier
|Music by||Clint Mansell|
|Edited by||Jonathan Amos|
Rebecca is a 2020 British romantic thriller film directed by Ben Wheatley from a screenplay by Jane Goldman, Joe Shrapnel, and Anna Waterhouse. The film is based on the 1938 novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier and stars Lily James, Armie Hammer, Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Goodman-Hill, Keeley Hawes, Sam Riley, and Ann Dowd.
Rebecca was released in select theatres on 16 October 2020, and digitally on Netflix on 21 October 2020.
While working as the companion to Mrs. Van Hopper, a rich American woman on holiday in Monte Carlo, the unnamed, a naïve young woman in her early 20s, becomes acquainted with a wealthy Englishman, Maxim de Winter, a widower. After a fortnight of courtship, she agrees to marry him and, after the wedding and honeymoon, accompanies him to his mansion in Cornwall, the beautiful estate Manderley.
Mrs. Danvers, the sinister housekeeper, was profoundly devoted to the first Mrs de Winter, Rebecca, who died in a boating accident about a year before Maxim and the second Mrs de Winter met. She continually attempts to undermine the new Mrs. de Winter psychologically, subtly suggesting to her that she will never attain the beauty, urbanity, and charm her predecessor possessed. Whenever the new Mrs. de Winter attempts to make changes at Manderley, Mrs. Danvers describes how Rebecca ran it when she was alive. Each time Mrs. Danvers does this, she implies that the new Mrs. de Winter lacks the experience and knowledge necessary for running an important estate. Cowed by Mrs. Danvers' imposing manner and the other members of West Country society's unwavering reverence for Rebecca, the new Mrs. de Winter becomes isolated.
The new Mrs. de Winter is soon convinced that Maxim regrets his impetuous decision to marry her and is still deeply in love with the seemingly perfect Rebecca. The climax occurs at Manderley's annual costume ball. Mrs. Danvers manipulates the new Mrs. de Winter into wearing a replica of the dress shown in a portrait of one of the house's former inhabitants—hiding the fact that Rebecca wore the same costume to much acclaim shortly before her death. The new Mrs. de Winter has a drummer announce her entrance using the name of the lady in the portrait: Caroline de Winter. When the new Mrs. de Winter shows Maxim the dress, he angrily orders her to change.
Shortly after the ball, Mrs. Danvers reveals her contempt for the new Mrs. de Winter, believing she is trying to replace Rebecca, and reveals her deep, unhealthy obsession with the dead woman. Mrs. Danvers tries to get the new Mrs. de Winter to commit suicide by encouraging her to jump out of the window. However, she is thwarted at the last moment by the disturbance occasioned by a nearby shipwreck. A diver investigating the wrecked ship's hull's condition also discovers the remains of Rebecca's sailing boat, with her decomposed body still on board.
This discovery causes Maxim to confess to the new Mrs. de Winter that his marriage to Rebecca was a sham. Rebecca, Maxim reveals, was a cruel and selfish woman who manipulated everyone around her into believing her to be the perfect wife and a paragon of virtue. On the night of her death, she told Maxim that she was pregnant with another man's child, which she would raise under the pretense that it was Maxim's, and he would be powerless to stop her. In a rage, Maxim shot her through the heart, then disposed of her body by placing it in her boat and sinking it at sea. The new Mrs. de Winter thinks little of Maxim's murder confession but is relieved to hear that Maxim has always loved her and never Rebecca.
Rebecca's boat is raised, and it is discovered to have been deliberately sunk. An inquest brings a verdict of suicide. However, Rebecca's first cousin and lover, Jack Favell, attempts to blackmail Maxim, claiming to have proof that she could not have intended suicide based on a note she sent to him the night she died. It is revealed that Rebecca had had an appointment with a doctor in London shortly before her death, presumably to confirm her pregnancy. When the doctor is found, he reveals that Rebecca had cancer and would have died within a few months. Furthermore, due to the malformation of her uterus, she could never have been pregnant. Maxim assumes that Rebecca, knowing that she would die, manipulated him into killing her quickly. Mrs. Danvers had said after the inquiry that Rebecca feared nothing except dying a lingering death.
Maxim feels a great sense of foreboding and insists on driving through the night to return to Manderley. However, before he comes in sight of the house, it is clear from a glow on the horizon and wind-borne ashes that it is ablaze. Mrs. Danvers commit suicide by drowning herself in the sea. Before that, she curses Mrs. de Winter of never knowing happiness. Contrary to that, Mrs. de Winter finds herself content in fighting for love and together, she and Maxim are in search of their dream home.
It was announced in November 2018 that Lily James and Armie Hammer had been cast in the film, to be directed by Ben Wheatley, which Netflix would distribute. In May 2019, Kristin Scott Thomas, Keeley Hawes, Ann Dowd, Sam Riley and Ben Crompton joined the cast of the film.
Rebecca was met with "mixed or average" reviews from critics at review aggregator Metacritic, with a weighted average score of 46 out of 100, based on 37 reviews. The review consensus at Rotten Tomatoes for Rebecca had 44% of critics recommending the film, based on 169 reviews and an average rating of 5.47 out of 10. The website reads: "Ben Wheatley's Rebecca remake is ravishing to behold, but it never quite gets to the heart of the classic source material—or truly justifies its own existence."
Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film 2 out of 5 stars and wrote: "You can feel Wheatley... wanting to submit to the full bacchanalian horror of this sequence, and yet the story itself won't let him. This Rebecca leaves us with a secondary mystery – why precisely Wheatley wanted to do it." Constance Grady from Vox also gave the film 2 out of 5 stars and went even further: "Ben Wheatley has no business making a gothic romantic horror movie if he is not interested in gothic romantic horror, and on the evidence of this film, he is not." She concludes "Wheatley’s Rebecca is a horror film that is resolutely sure there is nothing horrifying going on here at all, actually."
Presented content of the Wikipedia article was extracted in 2020-10-30 based on https://en.wikipedia.org/?curid=59056554