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Lady Macbeth - A Movie Review

'Lady Macbeth' is an intimate and chilling exploration of power, passion, and societal constraints.

By Marielle SabbagPublished 15 days ago 3 min read

I'd rather stop your breathing than have you doubt how I feel.

Lady Macbeth is a 2016 film. In 19th-century rural England, a young bride was sold for marriage. With her husband away, Katherine discovers a pretentious desire to have an affair with a worker on her estate.

Right when this movie started, I was curious to see the parallels between Shakespeare’s play and the debut performance of Florence Pugh. Lady Macbeth is an intimate and chilling exploration of power, passion, and societal constraints.

This is the film that launched Florence Pugh’s career. Pugh is a fantastic actress. She manifests deep emotions in every role. Compared to Pugh’s other works, she takes a more subtle approach to her role as Katherine. She understands her duties, and speaks up for others - but that’s not entirely her character.

Katherine is wrapped in several layers, like the iconic character from the Shakespeare play. Katherine is not afraid to cause chaos as long as she gets her way. Trapped in a life she never wanted, I felt bad for her until Katherina implements despicable acts in the story. Pugh dictates several gripping monologues.

Included in the cast are Cosmo Jonas, Paul Hilton, and Naomi Ackie. I was excited to see Ackie after her performance as Whitney Houston. She is a good actress and I look forward to seeing her in more films. The cast does a fine job with the film, especially in their interactions.

Lady Macbeth is a quiet film but has a loud atmosphere. People walking pound on your head due to the silence. Just like Katherine, you’re fighting to escape this miserable world. The sound of the ticking clock is enough to drive you mad. The film only has three musical passages, but for the most part, it’s silent.

The furniture is also intimidating. It’s where it’s meant to be and should not be moved. Even when Katherine goes outside, that lingering tension is still apparent. Filming took place on location at Lambton Castle, County Durham, and Northumberland, United Kingdom.

William Oldroyd presents intricate filmmaking. Subtle is the key ingredient, and Olyroyd perfects it. A lot of research was done on this period film. Scenes are quick, establishing the mood. From the beginning, the pacing is deliberate. The pacing may challenge some viewers, but the unhurried approach allows characters and their motivations to unfold organically.

William Oldroyd’s meticulous attention to detail set the film’s visual aesthetic with stark and haunting imagery. Most scenes are done in wide shots. The wide shots heighten the sense of isolation, emphasizing Katherine’s claustrophobic world. The colors are stark, portraying a grim mood. The ambiance strains viewers.

I recognized the parallels to the famous Shakespeare play, but the story is based on an 1865 novel written by Alice Birch. In a time when feminism was buried away, Katherine took a stand.

While the film shares a title with the infamous Shakespearean character, Katherine's journey is a distinct narrative that explores the consequences of societal expectations on a woman pushed to the brink. Katherine’s descent into madness is both disturbing and mesmerizing, especially from Pugh’s mystifying performance.

Lady Macbeth has thematic elements which are not suitable for all viewers. There’s a lot of nudity in the film. It’s presently boldly. Pugh embraced her nude scenes, commenting on how proud she is.

While the film is slow, that’s the nature of the story. It leaves you with a tremendous impact, like it did with me. Take in every second of this daring story. Lady Macbeth is streaming on Prime.

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About the Creator

Marielle Sabbag

Writing has been my passion since I was 11 years old. I love creating stories from fiction, poetry, fanfiction. I enjoy writing movie reviews. I would love to become a creative writing teacher and leave the world inspiring minds.

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