23 October 2014 | CharlieGreenCG
Serena has had quite a hard time so far. Filmed in 2012, it has been shelved for over a year and half due to apparent scheduling. But finally, after all that time it has come to light at this year's BFI London Film Festival for a world-premiere! But it does raise the question, is it a hidden gem that we have been long-desiring? Or is it so bad that it has was hidden on purpose? Unfortunately it appears to be the later.
Considering that is has two A-list on screen regulars; Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, the film is surprisingly dissatisfying. Set in North Carolina in the Depression era, the film accounts the perspective of George Pemberton (Cooper) and his wood-plantation empire. That is until he meets Serena (Lawrence), when he suddenly suggests 'we should be married' - and they immediately do. In fairy- tales this is expected, but in a reality period drama it is loose and leaves no belief in their relationship. As a result, throughout the events of the film we have no attachment to them at all.
Once on board with Pemberton's wood-empire, Serena does not want to just be a trophy-wife, but instead gets hands-on involved in the dirty business end and is not afraid to throw some axes.
Form there onwards the film repeats the same formula over again: Romance, wood-chopping, politics - repeat. It is a tedious cycle with the all-so often subplots appearing that have no registration to the already flimsy story.
Also featuring; Rhys Ifans (as the bearded hit-man), Toby Jones (as Sheriff McDowell) and Sean Harris (as a wood-chopper), the film shockingly concludes with a melodrama on misplacement and seems unsure of where it is going, or what genre it even is.
If there was one positive thing to be said about Serena, it would be the six sex scenes between Cooper and Lawrence. But even then, the chemistry between them is tightly bound compared to their previous on-screen duos (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle).
Directed by Academy-Award winning Susanne Bier and penned by Christopher Kyle, it is hard to find who is exactly to blame. Is it the direction of the story? Either way it is a disappointing adaptation.