Kirsten Dunst in Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled
Sofia Coppola’s latest film is an intense female-driven thriller that features her longtime muse, Kirsten Dunst. In The Beguiled, Dunst plays Edwina, a teacher at a southern all-girl boarding school during the Civil War. When one of the students finds a wounded enemy soldier (Colin Farrell) on their grounds, they take him in to help him recover. But betrayal and jealousy run rampant with the unusual and unwelcome presence.
In a recently-released clip from the film, the women of the house sit down to dinner with their new guest. While entertaining the man, Martha (Nicole Kidman) notices Edwina’s dress shows a little more shoulder than the rest of the ladies, quite scandalous for the time. With the obvious jealousy of one student, Alicia (Elle Fanning), Martha requests Edwina cover up with her shawl and that they change the subject.
For fans of Coppola or Dunst, the scene is pleasantly familiar of another movie the duo made together. In 1999, a young Dunst starred in Coppola’s directorial debut, The Virgin Suicides. The film was about a group of five sheltered suburban sisters who experience life, love, and sexual frustration in their final year.
In one particular scene, their parents have a young man named Peter over for dinner at the request of a therapist who says the girls need male socialization outside of school. While the parents steadily throw questions at Peter, we see the daughters are all playing footsie with their guest under the table, Dunst’s character in particular. Although the entire situation is peculiarly similar to the scene in The Beguiled, it’s specifically reminiscent of when the mother (Kathleen Turner) in Virgin Suicides tells Dunst to cover up with her sweater.
Kirsten Dunst in Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides
In an interview with The Boston Globe, Coppola admitted that the new film reminded her of The Virgin Suicides, particularly the dinner scene:
“There was something that reminded me of it . . . even like the pale, full dresses of Virgin Suicides even reminded me of the palate. Also, the dinner scene, where [Colin Farrell’s soldier character] comes to dinner for the first time, this foreign man, and the Virgin Suicides scene where the boy comes to dinner. . . . I was surprised because I got an e-mail from [Virgin Suicides author] Jeff Eugenides and he said, ‘You did The Beguiled? I always loved that movie.’ I feel like it must have had some effect on him, some influence when he wrote the book.”
The Beguiled premieres June 30.