Could a loving husband kill a woman because of unrequited love? Why is everything in the house “screaming” about her, and how can one explain such devotion of the maid to the one who is no longer there?
The film absorbs the viewer from the first minutes. In the center of the plot, Maximilian de Winter is a wealthy aristocrat, played by the charismatic Armie Hammer. His story begins with sadness for his dead wife. Young Rebecca was his only love, but she tragically passed away a year ago. The details of death are revealed to us only superficially, no specifics.
Trying to escape from mourning, Mr. Winter goes to Monte Carlo. On the trip, he meets two charming ladies – Mrs. Van Hopper and her young friend. The latter reminds him very much of Rebecca and Maximilian hastily marries.
Upon arrival at the estate, the second Mrs. Winter finds no place for herself. Here, the brown-eyed Briton Lily James successfully manages to play the shock of the portraits and things of the deceased, which disturb her so much.
Family life begins to improve, but soon Rebecca’s corpse is found in a pond near the estate. In desperation, the protagonist confesses to his second wife: it was he who killed her when he found out about the pregnancy from his lover. Soon, the police visit the Winter estate: they also know that the girl was pregnant before her death. An investigation begins, and the main character faces a prison.
When everything seems to fall into place: the killer is found, the motive is known, the doctor appears. Previously, he advised Rebecca. According to him, there was no pregnancy. The girl was dying of cancer and her death was just an attempt to get rid of suffering.
Director Ben Wheatley takes us to Cairo, where the couple live serenely. He was acquitted. Now they are not afraid of the shadows of the past.
The meaning of the film
“Rebecca” was a rethinking of the previously released tape of the same name by Alfred Hitchcock. The remake after forty years gave a bright, dynamic picture, a new look at the history of the Winters. Although in some places critics considered the tape “absurd” and “unworthy” of the original source. Therefore, it is important to treat the film as an independent work.
In the center of the picture is the story of the Winter family, in which the wife of the protagonist tragically dies. But life does not end and after a while Maximilian is ready to marry again. The picture with the happy newlyweds is painted with gloomy tones: a corpse is found in the water not far from the estate.
The tape tells about the horror of loss and fear that someone will find out the secret of Mr. Winter: it was he who killed his wife in a fit of jealousy.
The doctor’s confession is perplexing: “The deceased was not in a position and suffered from an incurable disease. What happened was suicide.”
The story does not develop linearly, but with returns to the events of the past. Through acting, we trust the emotions of the characters. The story is left unsaid right up to the credits.
Characteristics of heroes
The main character is Maximilian. In the tape, we see him in several states: heartbroken, in love, confused. At the same time, he remains cold and reasonable. We fail to fully understand whether Rebecca really had a lover and what does her husband have to do with it. Thanks to the well-coordinated work of make-up and costume designers, Maximilian, whom (Armie Hammer), looks deliberately cold and reserved.
In the image of the second wife, her transformation is important. From the introduction to the end of the film, we do not know her name. In the tape, this is a convention. More important is how the girl changed from a simple servant to a noble lady. The costumes, the appearance of manners, the restraint emphasize these changes. Her character will become the image of salvation and fear when she enters the estate.
Ann Dowd, who plays Mrs. Van Hopper, is a small, unnoticed character. But it’s important to the story. Her attitude towards the young companion allows us to feel empathy for the future wife of the protagonist.
Despite the occasional appearance of other actors like Kristin Scott Thomas or Sam Riley, their characters turned out to be voluminous, sensual.
2020’s Rebecca should not be seen as a reboot of Hitchcock’s work – there is a risk of disappointment. In this case, it is a new work that conveys the spirit of the 30s.
The tense atmosphere and unexpected plot twists will appeal to all fans of the thriller genre.