Review: Serena

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What happens when love turns to hate could sum up Serena. It’s a sweeping love story set in depression stricken America that fails to sweep the viewer in.

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper reunite once again to tell the story of George Pemberton, logging barron, and Serena. Within the first 5 minutes of the film George tells Serena: “I think we should be married”. Even by Hollywood standards this line was clunky and was followed by a pastiche sequence of clichés: lots of kissing, dinner, hot sex, travel rounded off by marriage. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh at how ridiculous it all looked or think that maybe this fulfils every girl’s romantic ideal of Prince Charming sweeping them off their feet.

The film then does an about turn to show how progressive George is by announcing to his chief advisor Buchanan that he should not see Serena as his wife but as a partner. This a strange turn of events given the film is set in 1929. Who is this woman, tamer of eagles, that has bewitched my friend is what Buchanan and the viewer are left thinking. Although slightly avant garde the pace of the film is achingly slow and the ending seems to be a complete anti-climax.

There are stellar performances by Jennifer Lawrence as the mysterious femme-fatale and Bradley Cooper as the stoic logging baron but they fail to lift this film. Rhys Ifans gives the performance of the film and is mesmerising.

Serena will be released on dvd in the UK on 23 February 2015.

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