At First Glance: “Serena”

Some films you hear about for years and years and wait for some proof that the film actually was completed. It just shows another interesting aspect of the filmmaking business, but fortunately the long waiting will be worth it in the end.

The first trailer (finally!) for the upcoming StudioCanal and 2929 Productions film “Serena”, was released today and it’s full of so much drama and then some.

This period drama stars Bradley Cooper (“Guardians of the Galaxy”, “American Hustle”), Jennifer Lawrence (upcoming “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I”, “X-Men: Days of Future Past”), Rhys Ifrans (“Elementary”, “Another Me”), Sean Harris (upcoming “’71”, “Deliver Us from Evil”), Toby Jones (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, “Leave to Remain”), Sam Reid (“Belle”, “The Railway Man”), and Ana Ularu (“A Very Unsettled Summer”, “The Borgias”).

The film is directed by Susanne Bier (upcoming “En chance til”, “Love Is All You Need”) and written by Christopher Kyle (“Alexander”, “K-19: The Windowmaker”). The film is based on the book by Ron Rash.

The film has several international release date, but no US release date has been announced as of this writing. Hopefully soon.

I am beyond ecstatic for this film! Oddly enough, I originally heard about this film when Angelina Jolie was set to star and another director was attached, but that didn’t happen. Then, out of nowhere, news of Lawrence and Cooper starring surfaced and I had a renewed interest. Yes, I went out and bought the book. I read it back at the beginning of the year and found so much to love about it, especially the character, Serena.

So, here we are today, with this fresh new trailer finally showing what this film is going to look like. I must say I’m surprised, both in good and bad ways. More good than bad, mind you.

Firstly, the setting looks perfectly captured, in all aspects. The world that these characters inhabit is going to be one that is easy to get lost in. Even the scene with that bird of prey was incredible! There’s also this feel of an epic film. Sure it won’t be something like “Giant”, but it still seems as such. Maybe it’s the time period.

Second, are the two main characters, Serena and George Pemberton, played by Lawrence and Coope. For better or worse, it’s probably a good thing that I read the book so long ago, but it does annoy me a bit as I can’t remember fully the characterization of Serena. Still, I feel that she’s going to be so interesting. Already, in the film’s trailer, she looks so loving, strong, determined, assertive, and ultimately, scary to a ruthless level. There’s all that, although I feel that this trailer of the film skimps on how she, and George, will be when they must protect their empire, and silence people. Maybe it’s so there’s something more to discover as you watch the film. George, unlike Serena, actually really shows a lot more concern and remorse for what must be done, and that’s actually part of the overall story. It’s complicated and messy, in all the best ways.

Ultimately I’m intrigued as to how everything will come together. This first trailer doesn’t tell me enough on whether it will be successful or not, and that’s not taking into consideration any award nominations or wins it gets. I’m highly optimistic that I will enjoy this film because of the actors and the way the story is told, which, as the beginning of the trailer shows, is already being changed slightly.

The biggest drawback, for anyone, is that Kyle wrote this adaptation. The last film he wrote was “Alexander” and that didn’t turn out so great. Hopefully he wasn’t fully responsible, but it does’t bode well for this film. Now I’m cautiously optimistic.

Since this is the first trailer, for a film I’ve been waiting for, for years, I’m sure we’ll see more, especially since this isn’t for a wide US release. As the time goes on, and promotional events are held, I’ll be able to see if this film stands a chance of entertaining me in the long run. There’s a lot to love and despise about Serena and George, that that’s ultimately what will sell this film. Their relationship. We’re seemingly in good hands with Lawrence and Cooper, but we’ll just have to wait and see.


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