If you’re like me and like to look up movie reviews before heading to the cinema then the film Lady Macbeth has probably crossed your radar. It has received glowing reviews from movie critics around the world and scored 92 percent* on Rotten Tomatoes.
I can attest to these ratings, the film is great. Its pace is both slow and lightning fast. The drama is raw and at times chilling. My friend and I glanced at each other with a “what the fuck?!” expression more than once during the 89 minute movie.
What’s the film about? Here is a synopsis of the R-rated film as provided on Rotten Tomatoes,
“Rural England, 1865. Katherine (Florence Pugh) is stifled by her loveless marriage to a bitter man twice her age, whose family are cold and unforgiving. When she embarks on a passionate affair with a young worker on her husband’s estate, a force is unleashed inside her, so powerful that she will stop at nothing to get what she wants.”
My own crass synopsis? Repressed middle class girl meets sexy farm boy and they get it on like Donkey Kong. Some serious shit goes down when people get in the way of her love life. At first you can relate to the protagonist and even cheer her own, you begin to lose empathy as the story continues…
The “sexy farm boy” is played by actor and musician, Cosmo Jarvis
This movie is not based on Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. It is based on the 1865 Russian novella Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District by Nikolai Leskov. Unlike the book it is set in the English, not Russian, countryside.
Before you go rushing off with the promise of a creepy movie about obsession and derailment, know that Lady Macbeth is very much an art house film. Yes, it is suspenseful and yes it is creepy but it is not like Stephen King’s Carrie, or Law Abiding Citizen or any of the other movies that immediately show up when you Google: revenge thriller.
I provide this disclaimer because I’ve been burned by art house films before.
Don’t get me wrong, I like all kinds of movies from blockbusters to obscure foreign dramas. But when you go to see a high rating film that promises a tale of betrayal, lust and even terrorism and then spend two hours watching actors sit in a living room barely speaking—well you’re inclined take all ratings and reviews with a grain of salt. I have a friend who has sworn of all art house films for this exact reason.
I have therefore devised an easy test to determine whether you will like Lady Macbeth.
Do you like period dramas like BBCs Pride and Prejudice, Downtown Abbey and A Place To Call Home?
Have you watched a play in the theatre? Did you like it?
Do you have a basic understanding of the Shakespeare play, Macbeth?
If you answered yes to at least two of these questions I reckon you’ll be as engrossed in Lady Macbeth as I was. If you answered yes to one, read this great review by Wenlei Ma published on news.com.au and then determine whether it’s something you’d like to see. If you’ve answered yes to none of these questions there is a good chance this movie will not cut your mustard.
Lady Macbeth is currently playing in Sydney cinemas now watch the trailer below.
*Correct at time of writing.