Rebecca: the consequences of love

Sakari Jacob

Mrs. de Winter stated, “You can talk to me about her. I have no secrets from you.” Mr. de Winter stayed silent before replying. 

“All marriages have their secrets.”

Debuting in October of 2020, the movie Rebecca brought forth an enticing drama that showcased Mr. and Mrs. de Winter’s journey through love, secrets, and numerous challenges. Rebecca features popular actors Armie Hammer and Lily James, among many others. Taking place in the 1940s, the characters are located in Cornwall, England on a fictional estate called Manderley.

The new Mrs. de Winter is first presented as a lady companion for Mrs. Van Hopper and through that, she meets Mr. de Winter and develops a relationship with him, over the course of several weeks, unbeknownst to her employer. Challenges arise after Van Hopper hears news of the new relationship and so she decides they will move to New York. However, this plan fails because Mr. de Winter proposes marriage. The two get married and enjoy their time with one another, however, as Mrs. de Winter tries to learn about her husband’s past marriage and what is required to be an appropriate duchess, she can’t help but feel inadequate under the shadow of the accomplished and beautiful Rebecca.

As previously mentioned Mrs. de Winter, played by Lily James, quickly becomes the leading character of the film. James has been a prominent actress in other popular works such as Mama Mia! Here We Go Again, and the live-action Cinderella, so she isn’t shy to the movie scene. 

Ben Wheatley is no stranger to directing. According to Polygon, “Wheatley has made a name for himself by sinking his teeth into material that pushes the understanding of what cinema can do and can make an audience feel.” 

The historical accuracy of the patriarchal society is well developed in the film. As NBC News states, “That familiar narrative arc is satisfying and well-told. Du Maurier’s Rebecca, 80 years on, is still an uncomfortably haunting vision of women under patriarchy, divided from their selves and drowned.” This helps to demonstrate the suffocation and lack of options for women in this society, specifically when Rebecca’s body was being extracted from the sea after being lost for two months, and Mrs. de Winter was consistently told by multiple men that being in the area was not wise of her and that she should leave. 

Rebecca was fairly interesting in terms of the journey and storyline in which it’s showcased, as well as how each character’s importance is revealed as time progresses. However, the aspects of the newlyweds only knowing each other a few weeks before getting married and the actions Mrs. de Winter takes after discovering the truth about Rebecca’s death are slightly concerning. 

If you are someone who enjoys a good mystery and analyzing characters then this movie should suffice. Ultimately, Rebecca receives 4.3/5 stars because it did have interesting elements, however, there were still some things that could have been improved.