Lady Macbeth is a fresh take on the well-worn period piece genre. It is not to be mistaken for Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ as the film bares no connection to the play. However, the title character Catherine holds many similarities to Lady Macbeth hence the title…
The film is a psychological thriller set in rural England in the late 1800’s. After Catherine, a young woman is forced into a loveless marriage with a much older man; she grows tired of the strict patriarch and schedule she is forced to live by. When her husband goes out of town for business, she begins an affair with a land worker named Sebastian. The pair fantasise about a life removed from the strict constraints of their time…
The film’s elaborate costumes and beautiful scenic shots of the English countryside are coupled with a house setting. The house acts as a metaphoric prison for Catherine as she is bound by the constraints of her gender. Through the setting, the audience understands the struggles of the character and helps to blur the line between right and wrong as the story unfolds.
For the film’s 1800’s setting, Lady Macbeth isn’t overshadowed by the “period piece” genre. The film’s depiction of Catherine’s relationship with Sebastian and the straight to the point, tight structure has a very contemporary feel. Furthermore, the film deals with many concepts such as sexism, racism and greed which continue to be prominent in society.
Lady Macbeth is a dark and broody film. There are many twists and turns throughout and many moments are disturbing to watch. The film forces one to question decisions of morality and the thin line between love and lust, as the audience is manipulated by Catherine just as the characters are.
Florence Pugh (Catherine) is a relatively newcomer and a true stand out! Her fierce portrayal of Catherine with subtle shifts in her personality, from loving to manipulative to controlling were a joy to watch (and make for a great Lady Macbeth).
Lady Macbeth plays with complexities of greed and desire. The film is much more than your regular period piece film and is well worth a watch!
Lady Macbeth made its Australian Premiere at Sydney Film Festival on June 10. The film has an Australian release on June 29.