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'The Beguiled' Does Not Allow Morality to be Seen in Black and White

Sophia Coppola's latest film, "The Beguiled," is set at a Confederate girls school in Virginia, where a group of sheltered young women take in a union soldier during the Civil War. The film is a remake of a 1971 film of the same name starring Clint Eastwood and both are adaptations of the 1966 book "Painted Devil," by Thomas P. Cullinan. 

The film won the 2017 Cannes Film Festival's prize for best director, where Coppola was the first female director to receive the award since 1961. The film made an impact on film contributor Dave Luhrssen, who says the "beautiful cinematography" and "well-executed cast" capture the moral ambiguity of a brutal time in American history. 

"It's unfulfilling to people who are looking for happy endings and easy answers," Luhrssen says.

As a remake film, he believes "The Beguiled" categorizes itself in a way that does not fit under any one heading. The film deals with complexities which challenge Southern womanhood and gothic styles that do not necessarily fit into a typical Hollywood mold. 

"If Flannery O'Connor had written a Civil War story it might have been something like this," says Luhrssen.

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Audrey is a producer, host and reporter for Lake Effect. She is involved with every aspect of the show — from conducting interviews, editing audio, posting web stories and mixing the show together.
David Luhrssen is arts and entertainment editor of the Shepherd Express, co-founder of the Milwaukee International Film Festival and co-author of A Time of Paradox: America Since 1890. He is the winner of the Pace Setter Award for contributions to Milwaukee's film community from the Milwaukee Independent Film Society. David Luhrssen has taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design and Milwaukee Area Technical College.