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Serena (2014)

serena

  • Directed by: Susanne Bier
  • With: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Toby Jones
  • 109 Minutes

“After two great hits, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper team up as a couple in a promising new movie that… Oh wait it wasn’t directed by David O. Russell. Well, I don’t know what to expect so I will give it a shot…”

A couple of hours before watching Serena my thoughts were mixed… I didn’t know what to expect because of several reasons… In the two previous times I saw Jennifer Lawrence alongside with Bradley Cooper I enjoyed a lot their chemistry and I still think they are a great power couple and I usually tend to enjoy historical romances which gave me hope for what I was about to see but then I saw the initial reviews and they didn’t look good at all and when it comes to movies like this one in particular bad reviews usually mean terrible things. Either way I give it a shot and after watching the movie I want to start this review by saying how sad I am for seeing my worst thoughts becoming true…

In the middle of North Carolina’s mountains during the 1920s, a love story between George Pemberton (Bradley Cooper) and a young and good looking woman named Serena (Jennifer Lawrence) begins. As a baron in the wood business, George has all the reasons to believe that Serena is the love of his life since she has some background on the business and doesn’t see any issues with moving from the city to the country. Serena’s presence is at first seen with some mistrust among the hard-working man but as soon as she displays her strength and her leadership skills everything changes and the company starts growing while George fights against the Government to keep his lands instead of selling them to the National Parks. But when Serena has a sudden abortion and after knowing that she can’t have another kid, the love story turns into a tragedy and there’s nothing George can do to avoid Serena from committing something crazy.

Like most love stories, Serena has drama, emotion, predestined love and tragedy with some historical background that I actually found to be quite interesting but even when there’s some tension in the story I remained indifferent towards the events. The love story is too predictable and it’s really hard to find anything interesting in it since most of the plot is basically arguments between the couple, sex scenes, business scenes and some repetitions of the traditional “I love you.” dialogue. When they see things going the way they expected they have sex with each other and when things aren’t going that well they try to comfort each other by saying “I love you” many times and remaining silent the rest of the time. So even if the couple as chemistry the probability of success is not that big. I am a big fan of Cooper/Lawrence charismatic couple and I think that David O. Russell saw in them a mini golden egg chicken but this time, no matter how hard they tried, there was nothing they could do to prevent the story from going into a bad direction.

Jennifer Lawrence is a fine lady who is a victim of the quickest proposal I’ve ever seen (It was like proposal at first sight) and she never shows innocence and emotional weakness. Most of the times she appears to be a strong woman that every man would ever want to meet but when things go wrong she becomes into some sort of sociopath. This transformation was probably one of the few things  I enjoyed the most about the movie because Serena displays her love in a very twisted way near the end and suddenly the amount of “I love you” speeches I’ve heard before didn’t matter one single bit. She is powerful, strong, and ruthless and a great character when compared with the static George who is guilty of making the worst proposal I’ve seen in a movie (love at first sight got a new meaning in my mind after watching this movie). He is a strong man but sometimes his bad decisions and the way he dealt with his problems kind of annoyed me. Besides these two we have a wicked sheriff who wants to take control of George’s lands and a gunslinger who senses things and who had been in jail for killing a man.

So we have interesting characters and a weak plot that gave me no reasons to feel attached to the story. While Lawrence and Cooper maintain some of their reputation because they didn’t had any fault in all of this, I saw my worst thoughts coming true with a story that lacks interesting elements to keep up. The historical aspects are not bad at all but the drama and the tension of this love story is too boring and painful to watch. For those of you who don’t know, Susanne Bier is mostly known for romances and was the woman chosen to direct the movie after changing the initial plan of picking Darren Aronofsky as the director.

Overall, the soundtrack is well placed between those beautiful mountains in North Carolina and the historical aspects of the 1920’s captured some of my attention but when it comes to the main plot there were some serious flaws. The story is predictable… I felt a lack of empathy during the movie and I think that the movie’s pace is a bit irregular with more attention given to arguments than to the really interesting details. Thanks to dynamic duo, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, Serena ends up being not impressive at all. Again moviegoers have a chance to see this two great actors shining together on the screen, just like they did before, but with a story far from being good.

See it in: IMAX | Dolby ATMOS | 3D Theaters | 2D Theaters | Rental

★½

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