Starring: Lily James, Armie Hammer, Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Goodman-Hill, Keeley Hawes, Sam Riley, Ann Dowd
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Netflix’s romantic thriller directed by Ben Wheatley. After a whirlwind romance with a wealthy widower, Maxim de Winter (Armie Hammer), a newly married young woman, Mrs. de Winter (Lily James), arrives at Manderley, his imposing family estate on a windswept English coast. Naive and inexperienced, she begins to settle into the trappings of her new life, but finds herself battling the shadow of Maxim’s first wife, the elegant and urbane Rebecca, whose haunting legacy is kept alive by Manderley’s sinister housekeeper Mrs. Danvers (Kristin Scott Thomas).
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Mrs. de Winter: Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley again. I dreamt that where our drive once lay, a dark and tortured jungle grew. Nature had come into her own, and yet the house still stood. Manderley. Secretive and silent as it had always been. Risen from the dead. Like all dreamers, I was allowed to pass through my memory. Spanning the years like a bridge. Back to that summer in Monte Carlo when I knew nothing and had no prospects.
Mrs. de Winter: I can see the girl I was so clearly, even if I no longer recognize her. And I wonder what my life would have been without Mrs. Van Hopper. Without that job. Funny to think that the course of my existence hung like a thread upon her curiosity. If it wasn’t for her, I would never have gone to Manderley, and would never have met you.
Mrs. Van Hopper: [referring to Max] Still heartbroken, by the look of it. Mrs. de Winter: He’s a friend of yours? Mrs. Van Hopper: Maxim de Winter, owner of Manderley. One of the finest homes in England. Mrs. de Winter: Oh, yes. Mrs. Van Hopper: His wife died last year, and he’s in dire need of company.
Mrs. Van Hopper: Honestly, with everything I’m teaching you, you ought to be paying me.
Mrs. Van Hopper: Show me an eligible bachelor, and I will show you a room full of women acting like they’ve lost their minds.
Restaurant Maitre D’: The terrace is for guests only. Mrs. de Winter: But I’m a lady’s companion. Really? Restaurant Maitre D’: Yes, it is not for staff. [Max spots her and raises his hand] Maxim de Winter: Monsieur, the young lady will be joining me. Set another place, please.
Maxim de Winter: So, what is it you do for… Mrs. de Winter: I’m what’s called a lady’s companion. Maxim de Winter: If a lady has to pay for company, that says something about the lady, doesn’t it?
Maxim de Winter: If it’s not rude, why her? It seems like you would make an excellent companion for any number of people. Mrs. de Winter: Well, I’ve always wanted to travel, so there’s that, and ninety pounds a year. I know that’s doesn’t seem very much to you, but it’s a lot to me. Maxim de Winter: I suppose you can set a price on loneliness.
Mrs. de Winter: It’s odd, isn’t it? Some people seem perfectly happy alone, while others just need someone to pass the time with. It doesn’t matter who. Maxim de Winter: Which are you? Mrs. de Winter: Well, my parents are dead. So I’m used to being alone.
Maxim de Winter: If you don’t mind me asking, when did your parents pass away? Mrs. de Winter: Two winters ago. Influenza. Well, my mother died of influenza, and my father died just four days later. Do you think a person could die of a broken heart? That was thoughtless of me. I’m sorry.
Mrs. de Winter: [to Max] Everything I know is from books. I haven’t really experienced anything yet. I plan to before I’m old.
Mrs. de Winter: Will you tell me about Manderley? I hear it’s beautiful. Maxim de Winter: It is. It is. Yeah. Manderley, it’s more than a house. It’s my life. It’s been passed from father to son, and father to son for centuries. Until now, anyway. You see, if I die without an heir, it goes to my sister. And her sons are nice boys, but they’re just not de Winters.
Mrs. de Winter: What are you doing? Maxim de Winter: Oh, you’ll see.
Mrs. de Winter: Imagine if you could bottle a memory like scent. Then, whenever you wanted, you could open it. It’d be like living the moment all over again. Maxim de Winter: And what particular moments in your young life would you bottle? Mrs. de Winter: This week. Now. Every minute of it. Never forget it. Maxim de Winter: And any memories you didn’t want, you could simply throw away.
[after finding out about the meetings with Max] Mrs. Van Hopper: Did you really think people wouldn’t talk? Oh, you’re best out of it. Everyone knows he nearly lost his mind after she died. It was all too sudden and tragic. Do you honestly think he is in love with you? It was a distraction, dear. That’s it. We’ll go away. We’ll go to New York. You’ll find your way. You’ll forget all about it. Trust me, you will forget all about it.
Maxim de Winter: Come with me. Mrs. de Winter: What? Maxim de Winter: To Manderley. Mrs. de Winter: What? As your secretary? Maxim de Winter: No. No. As my wife. I’m asking you to marry me, you little fool. Mrs. de Winter: I can’t come to Manderley. Maxim de Winter: Yes, you can. You said you wanted to see the world. Manderley is the best part of it.
Mrs. Van Hopper: [laughs] This is the most wonderful news I’ve ever heard in my life! Wait till I tell my friends, I can’t believe it! What are the plans? Please, I must know everything. Maxim de Winter: Well, the plans are settled. We’ll marry here, and honeymoon in Europe. And then home to Manderley. Mrs. Van Hopper: Oh, my goodness. Have you ever heard of anything more romantic in your life? “Home to Manderley.” Oh, my goodness. It’s out of a fairy tale.
[referring to her engagement to Max] Mrs. Van Hopper: Well, goodness gracious. Don’t you work quickly? Have you been doing things you shouldn’t? Mrs. de Winter: I don’t know what you mean. Mrs. Van Hopper: [laughs] Well, you don’t have a family, luckily, to explain it to. I wash my hands of it.
Mrs. Van Hopper: You’re going to have your work cut out for you at Manderley, you know. And, frankly, I don’t think you’re up to it. Mrs. de Winter: I can learn. Mrs. Van Hopper: Let me tell you something, honey. When you trap a man between your legs, they don’t stick around for long. Mrs. de Winter: Goodbye, Mrs. Van Hopper.
Mrs. Van Hopper: He’s only marrying you because he doesn’t want to go on living in that big old house with her ghost! Mrs. de Winter: I don’t believe in ghosts.
[after arriving at Manderley] Maxim de Winter: Danvers runs the house. Don’t worry, she’s not as scary as she seems.
[as Danvers is showing her around Manderley] Mrs. de Winter: Glad you’re here, Mrs. Danvers. I’ll never remember all this. Mrs. Danvers: Oh, I’m sure you won’t disappoint him, madam, if that’s your concern.
Mrs. de Winter: Never even seen a house like this. Mrs. Danvers: Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you’d been a lady’s maid.
Mrs. de Winter: This wasn’t his bedroom before? Mrs. Danvers: Oh, no. No. Mrs. de Winter’s rooms were in the west wing. Mrs. de Winter: Well, it’s a lovely room. Much too nice to stand empty. Mrs. Danvers: Oh, the guest rooms are never empty for very long. We did a lot of entertaining when the late Mrs. de Winter was alive. The Manderley ball was quite an event.
Mrs. de Winter: Ask me a question. Maxim de Winter: What sort of question? Mrs. de Winter: Anything. I have no secrets from you. Don’t you think that’s how it should be now that we’re married? Maxim de Winter: All marriages have their secrets. Mrs. de Winter: You can talk to me about her, if you want. Maxim de Winter: Good night, darling.
Mrs. de Winter: This is nice, isn’t it? Just us. It’s almost like we’re back on our honeymoon. Oh, I miss it. Don’t you? Driving, the exploring, little cafes. Seeing some funny old hotel and just staying there. Maxim de Winter: That’s not real life, darling.
Mrs. de Winter: [to Max, referring to the sea] I know why you didn’t want to come down here. How am I supposed to know? How am I supposed to know anything if you don’t tell me?
Beatrice: Max was right. You’re not at all what I expected. And you’re looking better, old man. Not so drawn. Maxim de Winter: Please. Beatrice: Bosh! Everyone knows you were a perfect wreck six months ago.
Mrs. de Winter: Well, actually, I’ve been thinking I might revive the ball. Beatrice: Oh! Giles: What a marvelous idea. Maxim de Winter: That’s not something we discussed. Beatrice: Oh, don’t be so damn miserable. You used to love it. You can hold it in honor of your new bride.
Granny: Are you staying at Manderley, dear? Beatrice: She lives here. Giles: Remember, Granny? Beatrice: Granny, we introduced you. She’s Maxim’s wife. Granny: [chuckles] No, she is not. She’s not Maxim’s wife. What a silly notion.
Beatrice: I apologize. I’d forgotten how fond our grandmother was of Rebecca. Mrs. de Winter: I’m fine. Beatrice: She was just one of those bloody annoying people. Irresistible to everybody. The men, women, children, animals. Us mere mortals couldn’t hope to compete.
[after Danvers accuses a servant of stealing a porcelain piece] Mrs. de Winter: It was me. I broke it. It broke. It was an accident. It fell. Maxim de Winter: Well, there we go. Robert, you’re off the hook. Mrs. Danvers: Where are the pieces, madam? Mrs. de Winter: In the bureau drawer at the back. Maxim de Winter: Send them to London, Danvers. See if anything can be done. Mrs. Danvers: Certainly, sir. And may I suggest, should anything like this happen again, that Mrs. de Winter tell me herself.
[after Frank confirms Rebecca drowned and Max identified her body] Frank Crawley: You know, you really mustn’t dwell on the past. You’re so good for Max. He’s a changed man. Mrs. de Winter: She must have been so afraid. Out there alone. Frank Crawley: She wasn’t afraid of anything.
Mrs. de Winter: Can I ask you something, Frank? And promise to tell me the truth. Frank Crawley: [chuckles] Hardly fair, is it? I Don’t know what you’re going to ask me. Mrs. de Winter: Was Rebecca very beautiful? Frank Crawley: Yes. Yes, I suppose she was the most beautiful creature I ever saw in my life.
Mrs. Danvers: She wouldn’t have a lady’s maid, you know. “I don’t want anyone but you, Danny.” Do you see how tall she was? She could wear anything with a figure like hers. I’d brush her hair for her, every evening. “Come on, Danny, hair drill,” she’d say. I’d stand behind her and brush away for twenty minutes at a time. That great mass of dark hair. He joined in. He loved to do that for her. They’d be dressing for dinner, guests waiting downstairs. “Harder, Max, harder!” And he’d roar with laughter. He was always laughing back then. Does he brush your hair? Mrs. de Winter: No.
Mrs. de Winter: Mrs. Danvers, does Mr. de Winter ask you to keep the room like this? Mrs. Danvers: He doesn’t have to. She’s still here. Can you feel her? I wonder what she’s thinking about you. Taking her husband, and using her name. Mrs. de Winter: I’m sure she’d want him to be happy. Mrs. Danvers: Happy? No, he’ll never be happy. She was the love of his life.
Jack Favell: [referring to Max] He’s left you on your own? Isn’t he afraid some bounder might come and carry you off? I’m Jack Favell. How do you do? Mrs. de Winter: Well, did you want to leave your card? Jack Favell: And too polite to tell me to bugger off. You are a sweetheart. Not to worry. I just popped by to see Danny. She’s invited me for tea. I’m horribly early though. Mrs. de Winter: Mrs. Danvers? Jack Favell: That’s why I thought I’d better hover around out here, otherwise I might get a smack on the wrist.
Mrs. de Winter: You knew Rebecca? Jack Favell: She’s my cousin. Was.
Jack Favell: Darling, may I ask you something? Has Max ever talked to you about the accident? [Mrs. de Winter shakes her head] Jack Favell: And he never mentioned Rebecca’s trip to London that day? Mrs. de Winter: No. No, he won’t speak of it at all. Jack Favell: So, you don’t know if he saw her when she got back that night, before she took the boat out? Mrs. de Winter: No.
Jack Favell: It’s just that there’s something she wanted to tell me. Something very important. And not knowing what it was, that’s really been a hard thing. I’m not doing my roguish image any good, am I? Mrs. de Winter: You should come back and ask Maxim. Jack Favell: Well, I would. But I’m afraid I’m a little bit banned from visiting. In fact, it’s best if you don’t mention my being here at all today.
Mrs. de Winter: [referring to Max] I thought you were friends. Jack Favell: Not really, no. And I would hate for either one of us to be on the receiving end of that famous temper of his. Mrs. de Winter: I don’t know what you’re talking about. Jack Favell: Well, it is still early days.
Mrs. de Winter: Why did you invite him? Jack Favell. You asked him for tea, knowing full well Mr. de Winter has banned him from the property. Mrs. Danvers: There must be some mistake, madam. I haven’t seen Mr. Favell for over a year.
Mrs. de Winter: Mr. Favell told me that she invited him here. Maxim de Winter: And I suppose Mrs. Danvers forced you to go riding with him, did she? Mrs. de Winter: No, I can explain! Maxim de Winter: Explain what? Mrs. de Winter: I was going to tell you. I was. Maxim de Winter: Want to tell me how you dragged him down to the boathouse? Parade your fancy new night clothes for him? Mrs. de Winter: [crying] How could you even think that? I’d never have let him on the property if I’d known it would upset you, Maxim. Please. I love you. Maxim de Winter: Oh, do you? Mrs. de Winter: Mrs. Danvers invited him here. Maxim de Winter: I don’t want to hear another word about Danvers!
[after she’s been dismissed by Mrs. de Winter] Mrs. Danvers: You see, I looked after Rebecca when she was a little girl. We came here together when she was first married. I was her friend. Someone to share her secrets. Bond like that can’t be broke. Can’t be replaced. I was wrong to expect that from you. Mrs. de Winter: Well, you’ll find another house. Mrs. Danvers: No. No. We women, we can either marry, or go into service. And I’m too old for either.
Mrs. Danvers: This wasn’t a job for me. Rebecca was my life. Mrs. de Winter: Yes. Mrs. Danvers: I’m sorry if I failed you. I didn’t mean to let you down. It was just you seemed so set on doing things your own way. Mrs. de Winter: No. This is all very new to me. The house, the staff. I just, I think that Mr. de Winter hoped that you’d help me. Mrs. Danvers: You didn’t ask for my help. Mrs. de Winter: Well, what if I asked for it now?
Maxim de Winter: I’m sorry. I was an idiot. It’s not your fault. Mrs. de Winter: I know it wasn’t. Maxim de Winter: I’m so sorry.
[after Max tells her off for wearing Caroline de Winter’s dress from the painting] Mrs. de Winter: Rebecca wore this before, didn’t she? Clarice: Mrs. Danvers said he’d be so pleased, and you’d be so pleased.
Mrs. de Winter: [crying] I should’ve known. I should never have worn it. Beatrice: Now, Pull yourself together! You can sit up here all night feeling sorry for yourself, or you can come downstairs with me and have a good old laugh about it, hm? Mrs. de Winter: His face. He wouldn’t have spoken like that to her. Beatrice: You’re very different people, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Maxim de Winter: This whole idea was a mistake. I should never have brought you back here.
Mrs. Danvers: There, do you see now? You’ll never replace her. You can’t replace her. Mrs. de Winter: You did this. You’ve been against me from the start. Mrs. Danvers: No. I was helping you. Mrs. de Winter: You tricked me. You planned this.
Mrs. Danvers: You and I both know you are nothing. You’re worthless. Not worthy of him. You’re not worthy of this house. He’ll never love you. And why should he? Mrs. de Winter: He did. Mrs. Danvers: No, he can’t love you. Because you’re not her.
Mrs. Danvers: I’ve let her down, allowing you here for so long. She won’t stand for it. “I’ll see you in hell, Danny! I’ll see you in hell first!” Mrs. de Winter: But Rebecca’s dead! She’s dead!
Mrs. Danvers: He’ll leave you. He’ll divorce you. And then what’ll you do? Mrs. de Winter: I’ll just go. Mrs. Danvers: You’ll go? Go where? You can’t remarry now. You certainly can’t look after a house. You don’t have any family to support you.
[as Mrs. de Winter is standing at the edge of the window] Mrs. Danvers: It’s alright. I know how you feel. It’s not as bad as all that. It’ll be very quick. Don’t be scared. It’s all for the best. No one wants you here.
[after a decomposed body is found in Rebecca’s boat] Giles: The body was found in her boat. The same color hair. And the engravings on her wedding ring. I mean, there’s no doubt, it’s her. Beatrice: Don’t be an imbecile. I’m sure there’s a perfectly logical explanation, hm? Giles: But you don’t think it’s odd? That your brother identified and buried the body of a stranger as his wife? Beatrice: No, Giles, I don’t. If you’re so concerned, why don’t you go and ask Maxim yourself. Giles: I would, but no one’s seen him for hours.
Maxim de Winter: It’s over. She’s won. Mrs. de Winter: Who’s won? Maxim de Winter: Rebecca.
Mrs. de Winter: If that’s her body they found, who is it you buried? Maxim de Winter: I don’t know. Mrs. de Winter: Maxim. The truth. Maxim de Winter: I don’t know. I swear it.
Mrs. de Winter: How did she drown? Maxim de Winter: She didn’t. Mrs. de Winter: Don’t lie to me! Maxim de Winter: She didn’t drown. She was already dead. Her boat was damaged. I damaged it. Deliberately. Mrs. de Winter: Oh, Maxim.
Maxim de Winter: You didn’t know her. Nobody did. She told me on our honeymoon how it would be. How she would keep her flat in London. Her parade of men. Even her own cousin. Mrs. de Winter: Please, Maxim! Maxim de Winter: She relished it. Playing the part. The perfect wife, knowing that I would never divorce her. Mrs. de Winter: Because you loved her. Maxim de Winter: I hated her. Hated her cruelty. I hated my cowardice. Knowing that I wouldn’t divorce her. Knowing I could never do that to our name.
Mrs. de Winter: How did she die? Maxim de Winter: When she came back from London, she told me she was expecting a visit from Favell. When I got here, she was alone. She looked different. She was pale. She’d seen a doctor in London. She said, “Imagine if I had a child, Max. You could never prove it wasn’t yours.” See, it wasn’t enough for her to take my pride. She wanted to take my name, my home, everything. And she said, “Go on, Max, do it. All you have to do is pull the trigger and you’ll be free.”
Maxim de Winter: Bullet went straight through her. She didn’t fall right away. She just stood there. So calm. Almost relieved. And then she was gone. Mrs. de Winter: All this time I thought you still loved Rebecca.
Mrs. de Winter: Why didn’t you tell me? Maxim de Winter: I couldn’t. I was so afraid I’d have lost you. Go to the police, tell them everything. You didn’t know. Nothing will happen to you. I understand if you want nothing more to do with me. That’s your choice. Mrs. de Winter: You made a mistake identifying the body. It was the grief, the trauma. Nobody knows but us. Nobody will ever know. No, she hasn’t won, Maxim. She hasn’t won. We won’t let her.
[at the coroner’s inquest] Maxim de Winter: Are you implying there were problems in my marriage? Coroner: I’m trying to understand how you apparently failed to recognize your own wife last year. Maxim de Winter: She’d been two months at sea. She drifted twenty miles. She was bloated, decomposing, her arms ripped off, and there was nothing left of her face.
Jack Favell: It’s about Rebecca, so you might want to send your wife off to bed. Mrs. de Winter: Well, I’m not going anywhere. I know all about you and Rebecca. Jack Favell: Oh, really? You know all about that, do you?
Jack Favell: But she did invite me. And that’s the point. Suicide or foul play? That’s what the chap said, wasn’t it? Now, inviting someone over doesn’t really sound like the sort of thing one would do if one was planning to end it all, does it? And that’s what’s been driving me mad this last year. But it’s beginning to make sense. She finally decided to leave you. Is that why you killed her? Maxim de Winter: You’ve no proof. It’s your word against mine. Jack Favell: No. It’s your word against Rebecca’s.
[after Favell reveals the letter he got from Rebecca the night she disappeared] Mrs. de Winter: Don’t rise to it, Maxim. Jack Favell: Yes. Don’t rise to it, Max. I only came by to thank you, really. You’ve been so generous over the years, sharing your wife with so many of us chaps. Actually, I just wondered if I might try my luck with the new one. [Max punches him] Jack Favell: Oh, there it is. There’s that temper I told you about.
Mrs. de Winter: How much do you want? Jack Favell: She’s cleverer than she looks, this one, isn’t she?
Maxim de Winter: This is blackmail. Jack Favell: What are you doing? Maxim de Winter: Calling the police. Jack Favell: Yeah. Call the police. They might even put us in the same cell. Not for long though. I imagine you’re looking at the noose, Maxim.
Inspector Welch: Mrs. Danvers, do you think it’s likely Rebecca de Winter drowned herself? Mrs. Danvers: No, sir. I do not. In the weeks leading up to her death, she had become fatigued and was feeling sick. And she asked me to let out the waistband in her trousers. Inspector Welch: Her belly was growing.
[after Max has been arrested for Rebecca’s muder] Mrs. Danvers: She despised you all. The men in London, the men at the Manderley parties. You were nothing but playthings for her. And why shouldn’t a woman amuse herself? She lived her life as she pleased, my Rebecca. No wonder a man had to kill her. Mrs. de Winter: It must have hurt. Knowing your only friend in the world took a secret like that to her grave. Pack your bags, Mrs. Danvers. I expect you gone by nightfall.
[after finding the doctor’s report on Rebecca] Mrs. de Winter: The bloating, the fatigue. They’re common symptoms. She had cancer. There’s her news for Jack Favell. Inspector Welch: That doesn’t prove she killed herself. Mrs. de Winter: She wouldn’t have wanted to suffer. Dr. Baker: Yes, she told me as much.
Dr. Baker: She only had weeks, and the pain would have been considerable. How did she do it? Mrs. de Winter: She took out her boat and scuttled it. She drowned herself.
[after Max has been released] Jack Favell: Stroke of luck for you there, Max. I bet you think you’ve won, don’t you? Well, maybe the law can’t get you. I still can. Mrs. de Winter: Is there anything else you want to say? If there is, you better say it now.
Maxim de Winter: Do you know what I hate her for most? It’s what she’s taken from you. It’s gone forever. That funny, young, lost look I loved so much. You’re not that person anymore. Mrs. de Winter: Don’t hate her for that.
[after Danvers sets fire to Manderley] Mrs. Danvers: You asked for my help. Here it is. Mrs. de Winter: Mrs. Danvers, please. Mrs. Danvers: He killed the only person I loved. I can’t let you have Manderley. It was ours, you see. Mrs. de Winter: You don’t have to do this. Mrs. Danvers: I know you’ll stand by him. But you’ll never know happiness. Mrs. de Winter: Yes, I will. [Danvers throws herself off the edge of cliff and into the sea]
Mrs. de Winter: Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley again. I dreamt of Mrs. Danvers and of Rebecca. But this morning I woke up and left the dead behind. And as I sit before the mirror in our stuffy little room in Cairo, It’s just another stop on our quest to find a real home, I can see the woman I am now. And I know that I have made the right decision, to save the one thing worth walking through flames for. Love.
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