Last night I watched Rebecca. It was my first time being introduced to this story. Yes, I know it’s a classic. Yes, I know Alfred Hitchcock probably did it better in 1940. It’s a Gothic tale by Daphne du Maurier. (I tried to read the book but got buried alive in words.) Unfortunately, it’s got a rotten tomato attached to it with a big green splat on the website of the same name.
The second Mrs. DeWinters (Lilly James), Maxim DeWinter (Armie Hammer), Mrs. Danvers (Kristin Scott Thomas) are the cast in this 2020 remake. The story revolves around a young lady, who is the companion of an older woman. While staying in Monte Carlo, they cross paths with Maxim DeWinter, a brooding widowed aristocrat. After a quick romance, he marries the the young lady, and brings her back to Manderly, his ancestral home.
Soon after the new Mrs. DeWinters arrives, it’s obvious that Rebecca, his former wife, had been the center of attention. Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper, is obsessed with keeping her memory alive at the estate. The arrival of the new Mrs. DeWinters does not sit well with her, and she embarks on the task of undermining the new wife and driving her crazy.
Lilly James brings a lot of angst to the role, depicting the Mrs. DeWinters as a rather uptight, fragile, and far too gullible woman. Her new husband is aloof, secretive, and will not talk about Rebecca at all. Mrs. Danvers, makes it a point to talk about her all the time. She apparently tragically drowned, or so they say.
There are insinuations Rebecca haunts Manderly, but there is no haunting to speak of. Some of the story makes no sense to me — sorry, I see plot holes here and there, or perhaps it was how the 2020 film was presented. My gut feeling is that you really don’t get an in-depth look at the personalities of these people on a short film, comparing to the character development you find in a novel.
I cannot rave about it. You can keep it on hand for a psychological thriller on a rainy night, but I wouldn’t worry about being very spooked at this Gothic tale. The only crazy person you really need to worry about is the creepy Mrs. Danvers.