Netflix just dropped the trailer for its adaptation of the iconic Rebecca, and frankly, it’s a little disappointing.
It’s almost impossible to hear the name Rebecca and not think of the 1938 Gothic novel by Daphne du Maurier. Rebecca’s perfection has been imitated by many, but no other adaptation bests Hitchock’s 1940s Best Picture Oscar winner.
Due out next month, Netflix’s ambitious version doesn’t seem to come anywhere near the brilliance of either the novel or Hitchcock’s film.
Rebecca is celebrated for its phantasmagorical nature, borrowing from its predecessor, Jane Eyre. It follows a naive young woman who falls in love with the older, wealthy Mr de Winter. After becoming his second wife, the woman (now Mrs. de Winter) relocates with him to his mansion, Manderley, which is presided over by its eerie housekeeper, Mrs Danvers, and haunted by the spectre of de Winter’s first wife, Rebecca.
Yesterday, Netflix dropped the trailer for its adaptation of Rebecca, and frankly, it’s disappointing.
Directed by Ben Wheatley, and starring Armie Hammer and Lily James as the happy de Winter couple, the film boasts an incredible team. Unfortunately for the three of them, they have big shoes to fill. Ben Wheatley (and possibly no other) can live up to the venerable Hitchcock, Armie Hammer doesn’t come close to Laurence Olivier, and Lily James is a little too beautiful for her role and not nearly naive enough to imitate the brilliant Joan Fontaine.
Before the trailer was even released, the announcement was met with disdain, because we really don’t need another Rebecca. Not necessarily because it’s overdone, or boring, or bad; but because it’s already had the best possible adaptation.
— Huw Griffiths (@huwgriffiths) August 7, 2020
Plus, the trailer already looks all wrong. The chemistry between Hammer and James seems forced and the lighting is garish in comparison to Hitchcock’s intentional black and white film. Whilst Wheatley has insisted his version is not a remake of Hitchcock’s film, it’s hard not to compare the two.
Wheatley explained that the inspiration for his remake came from wanting “to make something that had more love in it” because “it’s part of trying to investigate other parts of being human” and even though “Rebecca has dark elements…it’s also about these two people in love. That was the main thing.”
Because Rebecca hasn’t been officially released yet, it feels harsh to tear it to shreds already – so we’ll wait for its release.
Until then, pick up the book and delve right back in. Or if you’re looking for something incredibly similar, check out its phenomenal predecessor, Jane Eyre.