Today: April 18, 2024

Serena

Serena is constantly haunted by reminders of better films. The softly twanging guitar music and smoky mountain cinematography echo Brokeback Mountain, and the central presence of Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence creates an obvious link with Silver Linings Playbook. But while that film was about the slow development of a troubled relationship over time, Serena is entirely different; the relationship portrayed is still troubled, but – like the film as a whole – everything feels a bit rushed and awkward, and we don’t care about the main characters nearly as much.

Ambitious timber tycoon George Pemberton (Bradley Cooper) meets Serena (Jennifer Lawrence) near the film’s beginning, where they go from strangers to happily married in the space of about five hurried minutes. Pemberton chases after her on a horse, tells her “We should be married”, she laughs and rides off, then there’s a brief montage of them having sex and getting out of a car together and that’s that. Screenwriter Christopher Kyle may be trying to say something about their impulsivity as characters, but really the result is more patchy than it is breathless.

The rest of Serena bumbles on in much the same awkward way. Pemberton and Serena’s relationship starts off looking like a perfect, all-conquering match made in heaven, but then cracks start to form as other characters get ticked off with them and various things go wrong with their dream of building up a logging empire. It’s a bit predictable and the film makes it hard to empathise with anyone. Different people and different scenes flash across the screen without any real linearity and we don’t get properly acquainted with the characters; the whole thing is a jigsaw puzzle of moments that don’t quite fit together, which means that dramatic sequences and key points in the script often feel too much like transparent plot devices.

That being said, there are positives. The entire cast give strong performances (Jennifer Lawrence does a particularly great job at showing her character’s ruthlessness and vulnerability in equal measures), the cinematography is beautiful throughout and the music is spot on, and there are a few moments of tension and a couple of genuinely moving sequences. The right parts are there somewhere, but – like Pemberton and Serena’s fragile relationship – the whole is just a bit rickety, and in the end nothing quite fits together.

Previous Story

Harry Connick Jr. Talks Dolphin Tale 2

Next Story

Rising Stars And Veterans: Glasgow Film Festival

Latest from Blog

Memory

Memory (2023)

Memory is an exquisite American drama in the tender embrace of Michel Franco’s cinematic prowess.

Kind Hearts & Coronets

75 years after its release, StudioCanal’s crisp and bright 4K UHD restoration makes the prefect gift to mark the film’s Anniversary and the lasting legacy of the Ealing Comedy. Kind Hearts &

The Lavender Hill Mob

There are restorations … and then there are restorations … And, when it comes to 4K, StudioCanal are amongst the very best in the business. So, it should be no surprise that

Jack Ryan Complete Series Unboxing

The casting of John Krasinski – The Office’s Jim Halpert – as CIA analyst-turned-hero Jack Ryan certainly came as a surprise to those who were only familiar with Dunder Mifflin’s sarcastic, floppy-haired

Peter Doherty: Stranger in My Own Skin

Infamous Libertines and Babyshambles frontman Pete Doherty – uncommonly going by ‘Peter’ in this film’s title – has had a turbulent career and personal life that seldom saw him far from the
Go toTop

Don't Miss

A Star Is Born Filming Locations

Taking a trip to LA soon? Or interested in where

A Start Is Born

“It’s the same story told over and over, forever.” That