It's a great time to be Nicole Kidman. The Hollywood star has been back on the rise ever since the HBO series 'Big Little Lies' showed the world she thrives when tackling complex characters.
Seriously you could hardly swing a Keith Urban t-shirt around the internet without hitting at least five Kidman-centric thinkpieces.
Following the massive success of 'Big Little Lies', Kidman stars in Sofia Coppola's 'The Beguiled', and once again surrounded by strong female performances, she shines.
'The Beguiled' is a remake of a 1971 film, and both films are based on the novel by the same name by Thomas P. Culinan. The film stars Kidman as Miss Martha, the matriarch of the Miss Martha Farnsworth Seminary for Young Ladies in Virginia in 1864. There, as the Civil War rages on her doorstep, she takes care of a handful of remaining students along with her one remaining teacher. The dynamic of the small group of women is soon interrupted with the arrival of an unwelcome guest.
One of the students stumbles upon a wounded Yankee soldier, and brings him back to the seminary where, after a brief debate between the women, they allow him to stay while he recuperates. The addition of male energy into the otherwise entirely female seminary begins to cause tension, with Corporal McBurney attracting a lot more than just wandering eyes.
Coppola has said she wanted to tell the story from the female point of view. The original 1971 film stars Clint Eastwood as the wounded McBurney, but Coppola wanted to shift the focus from the soldier and build out stronger, rounded characters.
McBurney becomes the object, rather than the subject, and the women are more than happy to objectify.
Alongside Kidman, the film stars Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Colin Farrell and Aussie Angourie Rice. The film is dark, tense, beautiful and most surprising of all has an incredible sense of humour to it. Introducing a screening in Sydney via video chat, Coppola urged audiences, "don't be afraid to laugh".
The film won Coppola the Best Director award at this year's Cannes Film Festival, making her the second woman to ever receive the award after Yuliya Solntseva won in 1961.
'The Beguiled' opens in select cinemas across Australia July 13.
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