Lady Macbeth; Victorian-era piece subverts the moral code

Lady Macbeth is the second really good film I’ve seen this year (the first being Graduation). Logan is very good in many ways and falls just behind in what has been a rather interesting year for movies. For starters, I can see these three movies being in my top 20 films of the year. Similar to The Witch last year, an early release movie (Graduation) has got me smitten with love. And now, there’s a second one. Lady Macbeth isn’t just impeccably shot and acted that every scene is charged with equal amounts of subtle tension and arresting imagery. With a penchant for combining pockets of darkness and hope/sympathy, the events which unfold before our eyes have a juxtaposing and uncomfortable effect.

We loathe to see our protagonist trapped in chains,yet,loathe to see that her attempts at freedom produce results teetering on the edge of chaos. And if you’re like me, you’ll watch the film through a vicarious lens…as if we’re rooting forΒ our protagonist to shepherd through the valley of darkness, only to concede that it’s the world that’s evil and selfish. Β In a subversive manner (not unlike The Witch), Lady Macbeth’s unyielding and haunting nature subverts notions of darkness and pessimism and transforms, unsettlingly, into something resounding. We all know the world is far from perfect. And sometimes, even our best springs from the roots of the damned.

Set in the misogynistic era of treating women and wives as property, freedom is a thing unheard of. Bearing a rebellious streak from the beginning of the film, we see that our protagonist is not going to take the injustice lying down. Her little smirks and remarks and attempts to control various parts of her schedule grows to sleeping with another man when her husband is away. The desperation at regaining control of her life is pathetic but brave. And from little things which snowball into bolder attempts to break free, the film does a great job connecting us with her stifling imprisonment. From claustrophobic shots of contained tension to the chilling silence of the inevitable to the troubling anticipation of the unseen, William Oldroyd’s build-up at every turn is terrifying.

Some may call it a feminist film. And it may well and truly be. But I think the main point of the film is a deconstruction of another ideal; Morality. Because we know that Lady Macbeth fighting for her freedom is doing right by us and the ideal of equality. And we want her to fight for it, we want her to succeed. And at the end, you have to ask yourself whether you’re willing to stand by what she has done. And if you still do (or don’t anymore), what does it say about you? More importantly, what does it say about the nature of morality in twisted and unforgiving circumstances. The many provocative questions that challenge our established rules of morality is artfully and shockingly examined here. But Lady Macbeth may be trying to say that the question isn’t even about right or wrong. It’s not a cheesy one-liner you see in other films about how it’s all about power.Lady Macbeth crafts an entire journey that examines the brutal nilhilsm of the world and all the power that keeps us in chains…and proposes,instead,that it is in fact those who are able to set themselves free that could be the moral victory for the oppressed.

9.5/10 Thought-provoking and haunting. Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis and Naomie Ackie were so good.



11 Comments Add yours

  1. Jay says:

    Wow, those are some impressive accolades. You’ve inspired me to look this up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They are indeed πŸ™‚ Almost flawless film and it’ll haunt you for days! I can’t wait tp hear your thoughts πŸ™‚


      1. Jay says:

        I can’t wait to have some! πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  2. says:

    Have you seen The Levelling? That’s another terrific British independent film that came out really and is worth seeking out. Lady Macbeth is every bit as wonderful as you say in your review

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No but thanks for introducing me!! I’ll have to check it out then πŸ™‚ Sounds good. Isn’t it? πŸ™‚ That scene where the husband’s dad is struggling as well as the one where we get a deadpan shot of the maid in silence when questioned really rocked me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. smilingldsgirl says:

    Interesting to read your review because I thought this was pretty bad. No chemistry between the couple was my biggest problem and they kept making one idiotic decision after another. It looks nice but it wasnt for me

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoyed reading your review more than I enjoyed watching the film. Because, while it has filmmaking and acting of the highest quality, it really it an exercise in nihilism more than anything did not contain much empathy, emotion or humanity.

    Take nothing away from the performance of Florence Pugh who was incredible but her character, I felt, was spoilt, rootless and probably insane. Now, the complexity of the character was fascinating but by the end I just could not see the point in any of her actions. Sometimes this can work in a film but in this one I thought is was mainly style over substance. Great review though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha glad you enjoyed reading it! Sorry for the late reply, I’ve missed a couple of these already πŸ˜› Yeah, it does seem extremely cold and depressing. Even the redemptive aspect is not something from humanity, but a perverted version of escape in a world gone to hell. But maybe that’s why I found it so powerful. It was real, uncompromising and shocking. I guess I saw Florence Puth’s character in a more empathetic light.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I also enjoyed your well written review, even though I do not agree with your observations. Your comment about the “many provocative questions that challenge our established rules of morality is artfully and shockingly examined here” is precisely why I was rather disappointed with this film. For me, it is shallow in its storytelling and devoid of emotion. Its a pity because all the other ingredients are there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The film does seem cold I won’t disagree. It’s chilling and nilhilistic. But I thought the emotions were beneath the surface. I felt the strongest emotions were repressed ones by the oppressed characters and their silence was haunting.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I enjoyed version your limited review more than I enjoyed watching the film. I can’t time lag to get some!


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