Lady Macbeth (2017)

By Livia Peterson

William Oldroyd’s “Lady Macbeth” is crazy – hates to admit it is mocking William Shakespeare and costume dramas. The film may ignite recollection of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” without the genuine romance.

Based on the novel Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District by Nikolai Leskov, the young woman Katherine (Florence Pugh) is oppressed with the loveless marriage to the bitter man Alexander (Paul Hilton). However, she commences the passionate affair with another man Sebastian (Cosmo Jarvis) near the estate. Katherine is determined to fulfill her desires during the aforementioned affair.

“Lady Macbeth” is filled with surprises that may leave one gasping, chuckling, and winking all at once. The film is a conventional period drama from the outset – but some boundaries are crossed as it progresses. Pugh frequently stares at the audience with varied emotions – some are successful and some are not. By the end, the stare is unconvincing and everything that came before it is not so jaw dropping.

Despite the gorgeous production and costume design, “Lady Macbeth” belongs to the utterly brilliant Ms. Pugh. Katherine’s behaviors may be questionable and yet, Pugh adequately justifies them with empowerment (not necessarily with reason). The logic behind Katherine’s actions is unanswered.

It is amazing that we are able to witness female dominant narratives on film; however, “Lady MacBeth” does not provide the precise and successful recipe. C

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Now Playing: Friday, August 4, 2017