Rebecca: A Classic is Back but the Soul is Missing

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Written by E23 Staffer Megan O’Leary

Edited by MUTV Digital Director Zack Hohenstein

The new adapted film ​”Rebecca”​, starring Armie Hammer and Lily James, in no way compares to the 1935 novel by Daphne du Maurier or the 1940 Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name.

To my surprise, the newest version leaves you feeling unmoved by the end. With so much material to base it off, you would think it would be easy to recreate the classic for a new generation.

The beginning of the film starts as a sweet romance in Monte Carlo between an unnamed woman, played by James, and widower Maxim de Winter, played by Hammer. The woman is the dutiful companion of an unpleasant, overbearing woman and she manages to catch the eye of charming Mr. De Winter. The two grow closer and before you know it, they are engaged to be married.

After the wedding and honeymoon, the couple returns to the glamorous Manderley mansion in Cornwall. Upon arrival, the unnamed woman meets the frightening Mrs. Danvers, played by Kristin Scott Thomas, along with the rest of the unwelcoming staff. Soon, the new Mrs. de Winter learns that every nook and cranny of Manderley is haunted by the memories of the late wife of Maxim de Winter. Mr. de Winter refuses to discuss his first wife, Rebecca, and the details behind her death. The film quickly shifts to a dark and mysterious perspective full of secrets and suspense.

The film is more engaging in the first few minutes in sunny Monte Carlo, rather than in the gloominess of Manderley, even though it is the setting of the important events that shape the movie. Overall, Lily James is adequate, but is never able to completely embrace the bone chilling suspense that is expected. Personally, I felt that Armie Hammer was able to properly encompass both the alluring and the tortured characteristics that outline the appearance of Maxim. Kristin Scott Thomas fully embodies the menacing Mrs. Danvers, dressed in black with a stone cold demeanor that emphasizes the thriller feature.


Although the film includes a star-studded cast, it fails to reach the impact of the classic gothic horror. Let us know your thoughts on the new ​Rebecca​ film on Instagram and Twitter @MUTV23.