Let’s address the elephant in the room right away: this version of Daphe Du Maurier’s classic book is stylish and well-shot, but it’s nowhere near as good or memorable as Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 masterpiece (which won an Oscar for Best Picture and propelled Hitch to Hollywood stardom). So yes, this 2020 Netflix movie has some big shoes to fill, and it’s no surprise that it comes up short. If you’re watching the story unfold for the first time, you’ll probably fall for its charm at first, as we follow two newlyweds (Lily James and Armie Hammer) who move to the husband’s beautiful estate of Manderley after a honeymoon in Monte Carlo. Surprise: his ex-wife’s “ghost” still haunts the place. Who was she? How did she die? In Hitchcock’s film, those questions are carefully answered. Here, it’s all over the place at times, leading to a disappointing climax that leaves very little impact. Still, there’s a lot to admire here, from the beautiful costumes to the lavish set designs. Both actors give it their very best, but it’s Kristin Scott Thomas who steals the show as the mysterious Mrs. Danvers.
I’ll probably won’t remember this version of “Rebecca” after a while, but it’s still entirely watchable, despite all its flaws.