Rebecca review: What’s the verdict on the Netflix remake?

Rebecca: (L to R) Armie Hammer as Maxim de Winter, Lily James as Mrs. de Winter. Cr. KERRY BROWN/NETFLIX
Rebecca: (L to R) Armie Hammer as Maxim de Winter, Lily James as Mrs. de Winter. Cr. KERRY BROWN/NETFLIX /

Is Rebecca worth a watch on Netflix?

As soon as Rebecca released on Netflix, the reviews started pouring in. What’s the verdict? Who’s liking it more: critics or regular viewers? Or are both liking it about the same?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of a Rebecca review, let’s first get a feel for this remake, which was directed by Ben Wheatley.

Who’s in the Netflix’s Rebecca?

It stars Lily James as Mrs. de Winter, Armie Hammer as her husband, Maxim de Winter, and Kristin Scott Thomas as Mrs. Danvers.

What’s Rebecca about?

It’s based on the romantic suspense novel by Daphne du Maurier that inspired the 1940 Alfred Hitchcock movie.

James’ character at first has no name. She starts out only being known as the paid lady’s companion to the brash but wealthy Mrs. Van Hopper (Ann Dowd). She becomes Mrs. de Winter after a chance encounter and a whirlwind romance with Hammer’s character.

Everything is wonderful until they arrive at Manderley, the de Winter family estate. She knows Maxim’s first wife, Rebecca, died, but she doesn’t know much else. Instead of welcoming the bride, Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper, makes sure to let her know every chance she gets that the new Mrs. de Winter will never compare to her predecessor.

Then the new Mrs. de Winter discovers that there’s more to Rebecca’s death than meets the eye, and her husband might not be who she thought he was.

Rebecca reviews

The Alfred Hitchcock version of Rebecca scores high with viewers and critics alike. Those are big boots to fill. How are people responding to the remake? Is it comparable to the original?

A Rebecca review from Vox called it an “exhausting failure.” Woof.

As far as ratings, the score came in at 50% on Rotten Tomatoes, with the Audience Score scoring lower at 48%.

However, 81% of Google users liked it, including me.

Like the new Mrs. de Winter versus the first one, it’s impossible not to compare. I have to admit when I first heard a Rebecca remake was headed to Netflix I alternated between excitement and dread. I love both the book and the original movie.

I wasn’t sure what Wheatley would do with his adaptation, but I felt he did it justice. No, it’s not like Hitchcock’s, but in many ways, it’s expanded and lets us into the story more.

Mrs. Van Hopper is meaner than the one in the original, and Mrs. Danvers is a bit warmer. Speaking of the housekeeper, we see more of Manderley’s staff, as well as Manderley itself. In the Hitchcock version, you’re aware much of the setting is an elaborate soundstage, but this version is more modern while still retaining the charm of the period it’s set in (the 1930s).

It’s not perfect. I felt the ending was a bit rushed, especially the trial. Mrs. Danver’s demise is also handled a bit differently. Not that it detracts from or impacts the overall storyline at all, though. I just was surprised Wheatley tweaked that aspect.

Overall I enjoyed this Rebecca remake. It feels fresh, it plays with a few of the major moments but doesn’t ignore any, and I thought all parts were well cast.

But it doesn’t matter what I think or what anyone else does. The only thing that matters is what you think. How would you review Rebecca?

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