Serena – ★ ★ ★ ½ DVD Review
In Depression-era North Carolina, the future of George Pemberton’s (Bradley Cooper) timber empire becomes complicated when he marries Serena (Jennifer Lawrence). Serena was orphaned at the age of twelve when the Colorado timber company owned by her parents burned to the ground leaving her the only survivor. She has a good head for logging, and a good mind for business, which sets her apart from much of Pemberton’s crew. The story kicks off rather quickly, as Pemberton and his partner Buchanan (David Dencik) appear to be in financial woes, sending Pemberton to Boston where he refinances the company and meets Serena Shaw, who he immediately falls in love with and marries. When they arrive back at the Carolina camp, they discover that George’s maid/lunch woman Rachel (Ana Ularu) is pregnant with his bastard child, but Serena says that doesn’t matter, as what happened before they met didn’t happen. Quickly Serena endears herself to the camp and her new husband, but maybe not to his partner. Things are rotten in the Pemberton Timber Company, as there is a local push to shut them down and save the forests to create a State Park in the Smokey Mountains. Bribery and financial chicanery are the order of the day as George plans to keep his land and his company afloat, especially when Serena quickly becomes pregnant. After the suspicious death of Buchanan the sheriff (Toby Jones) begins watching the camp more closely, including Galloway (Rhys Ifans), one of their lead hands.
This was an interesting movie that looked incredibly authentic, and while I did enjoy it, there were a few things I wished would have happened. I wanted more of Jennifer Lawrence. I wanted to see more of her asserting herself in the male dominated world of 1930s loggers. (Is there a difference between a timber company and a logging company? I don’t know.) I just felt that since such a big deal had been made about that aspect of her character, that I wanted to see more examples of it. Lawrence obviously had incredible chemistry with Bradley Cooper, who was good as well. I may have just been tired, but I couldn’t help but laugh at him a few times. There were a couple of scenes where he’s hunting a panther and he’s aiming his rifle, and I kept making American Sniper jokes to myself… Aside from Lawrence, I really enjoyed the supporting cast of Ifans and Jones. The strong performances carry the film even at the times when the story drops a degree or two.
Bottom Line: It was probably really just a ★ ★ ★, but Jennifer Lawrence seems to get an extra ½ no matter what she does. Even when she does this:
Posted on 15-03-01, in 3.5 Star, Movie Reviews and tagged Ana Ularu, Bradley Cooper, David Dencik, Jennifer Lawrence, Rhys Ifans, Serena, Susanne Bier, Toby Jones. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.