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Rebecca Movie Review - Gorgeous but Bland

An enjoyable gothic romance/mystery could have been better.

Reviewed by on Oct 20, 2020
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Kidzworld watched Rebecca, a remake of a classic gothic romance/mystery that looks fabulous but needed more intensity to really pull us in. Check out our movie review.



In Rebecca, it’s the late 1930’s and shy young woman (Lily James) meets hot, wealthy widower Maxim de Winter (Armie Hammer) while working as companion to rich, rude Mrs. Van Hopper (Ann Dowd) in Monte Carlo. Attracted to her, Max starts taking her out while her boss is sick in bed. When the rich woman wants to leave suddenly, the companion tells Max she has to leave so he proposes to her. What a fairy tale! After honeymooning all over Europe, the newlyweds return to his gothic, bigger than Downton Abbey estate where the new Mrs. De Winter is overwhelmed by too many servants and too much house. Head housekeeper Mrs. Danvers (Kristin Scott-Thomas) was so devoted to De Winter’s first wife Rebecca that she plots to get rid of the new model. It is up to the new Mrs. to solve the mystery of Rebecca’s death and hold on to her man.

Can the new couple ever be happy?Can the new couple ever be happy?Courtesy of Netflix

Fun in Monte Carlo

In a posh hotel in beautiful Monte Carlo, a young woman struggles to please her boss, the rich and overbearing Mrs. Van Hopper. She is treated as a low class nobody by Van H. and the staff of the hotel. The only one treating her well is handsome Maxim De Winter, a grieving widower who is charmed and they start secretly dating. It’s a whirlwind courtship. When Mrs. Van H. decides to suddenly leave, her companion tells Max she will have to go and he proposes. Angry, Mrs. Van H. tell her she will never be good enough to replace Max’s dead wife Rebecca or be able to be mistress of his large, famous estate Manderley.

Max asks the lowly companion to marry himMax asks the lowly companion to marry himCourtesy of Netflix

Home to Manderley

After a great honeymoon, the couple returns to his seaside estate in England where the shadow of first wife Rebecca hangs over the huge staff and especially the uptight, cold housekeeper Mrs. Danvers who is rude to the new Mrs. De Winter treating her again, as lower class and stupid. Max won’t tell his wife how Rebecca died or discuss the fact that he sleepwalks toward her closed bedroom many nights. During the day new wifie is often left alone and lonely. She discovers Rebecca’s office where she accidentally breaks a costly figurine, hiding it in the desk.

Mrs. Danvers (Kristin Scott Thomas) is far from welcomingMrs. Danvers is far from welcomingCourtesy of Netflix


Walking to the nearby beach, Mrs. De W. finds an abandoned cottage and learns from a strange caretaker that Rebecca drowned. Max’s sister Beatrice Lacy (Beatrice Hawes) arrives with other family and treats Mrs. De W. at least decently but next day new wife has to admit she broke the figurine. Her embarrassment pleases Mrs. Danvers.

New wife discovers the beach cottageNew wife discovers the beach cottageCourtesy of Netflix

Back at the beach cottage, estate manager Frank (Tom Goodman-Hill) explains to our bride that Max told him to lock up the cottage and that Rebecca, a real beauty, sailed out alone in a storm and her body washed up two months later. Best not to talk about it. Later, in Rebecca’s posh bedroom, Mrs. Danvers raves about how wonderful she was and that she was “The love of Maxim’s life”.

Mrs. Danvers (Kristin Scott Thomas) tells the new wife (Lily James) she isn't good enoughMrs. Danvers tells the new wife she isn't good enoughCourtesy of Netflix

Unwanted Visitor

The estate is visited by Jack Favell (Sam Riley) Rebecca’s cousin whom Max has banned from the property. New wife doesn’t know this and greets him warmly. He makes a few inappropriate advances but tells her that Rebecca took a trip to London right before she died and sent him a note to come to her. She had something important to tell him. Now he will never know what it was. He cries. Max comes home and accuses his bride of being seduced by Jack. He is furious. Danvers lies to Max and new wife tries to fire her but Danvers talks her out of it.

Max (Armie Hammer) thinks his bride was seduced by Jack (Sam Riley, right)Max thinks his bride was seduced by Jack (right)Courtesy of Netflix

The Ball

After making up with Max, Mrs. De W. decides to throw a big ball, a costume party like in the old days. A maid suggests she have a costume made that matches the red ball gown worn by one of Max’s ancestors in a portrait. She agrees, makes all the preparations with the actual cooperation of Danvers.

Max (Armie Hammer) and guests gasp in shockMax and guests gasp in shockCourtesy of Netflix

All seems well until Mrs. De W. makes a grand entrance, everyone gasps and Max goes white and tells her to take that off and change right now! She discovers that Rebecca wore the same costume right before her death. She has been set up by Mrs. Danvers using the maid as her accomplice. Shattered, new wife feels like ending it all. Mrs. D. tries to get her to jump from a window.

Mrs. Danvers tries to convince the bride to kill herselfMrs. Danvers tries to convince the bride to kill herselfCourtesy of Netflix

The Boat

The suicide is interrupted when news of an old boat washing ashore sends everyone to the beach. It’s Rebecca’s boat and her body is inside! Then who was it that Max identified as her? Our Bride finds Max, alone and drinking in the cottage. She demands the truth and he tells her that Rebecca had many men after their marriage, even her cousin Jack. She told Max she was pregnant and would pass the child off as his. She dared him to kill her and, always hating her, he shot her. Now there is an inquest as to the nature of Rebecca’s death. It looks like Max might be charged with murder.

Max (Armie Hammer) sleepwalks toward Rebecca's roomMax sleepwalks toward Rebecca's roomCourtesy of Netflix


Rebecca had more secrets and, in order to save her husband, his new wife goes into investigation mode, goes to London and uncovers truths that might save him after all. Will she be successful? What will happen to her marriage? Will Mrs. Danvers pay for all the pain she has caused?

The bride discovers more secretsThe bride discovers more secretsCourtesy of Netflix

Wrapping Up

If you are a teen and ever saw Alfred Hitchcock’s original Rebecca film made way back in 1940, you will know this story. Or maybe you studied the Daphne du Maurier novel on which it, and this film, is based in English class. The film might really move too slow or seem antiquated for younger kids but teens loving a good romance and mystery should get into it.

Max won't talk about his wife's deathMax won't talk about his wife's deathCourtesy of Netflix

The movie looks lush and great.  The first third is a colorful travelogue for so many of us who can’t go anywhere but the living room couch right now. The story follows the book and classic Hitchcock movie, basically, with a little more emphasis on the new Mrs. De Winter’s investigating Rebecca’s death and really morphing from mouse to stand-by-your-man lioness toward the end of the film.

The young companion and Max have a whirlwind courtshipThe young companion and Max have a whirlwind courtshipCourtesy of Netflix

However, the music score doesn’t build the eerie, ghostlike threats at Manderley. There were more chances to make Rebecca’s presence felt in a scary fashion and although Lily James and Armie Hammer look great and their acting is fine, I didn’t feel much “heat” between them.  Kristin Scott-Thomas was icy perfection as the obsessed Mrs. Danvers. We even get to learn why she is so devoted to Rebecca giving the character a softer underbelly. A couple of Lily’s costars were with her in Pride + Prejudice +Zombies. I knew they looked familiar.

If you want to be taken away from your stay-at-home life and enjoy gorgeous scenery, posh locales and a good mystery/romance, you will probably get into this re-made version of a classic. We can award three stars.

Rebecca Movie Rating: 3

Rebecca Movie PosterCourtesy of Netflix

See Rebecca on Netflix starting October 21st.

Are You Into Fairy-Tale Romances?

Do you like stories about servants who get swept off their feet by princes? Are you into scares in old mansions? Do you just like a good murder mystery? What is your favorite mystery movie? Tell everyone with a comment or on your Kidzworld profile page.