Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Review: Carrie (Kimberly Peirce; 2013)

   There have been rumblings against Kimberly Peirce's remake of the classic film Carrie since it was announced. To counter this, the filmmakers seem to have pulled out all the stops to try and ensure the film is a success, such as the casting of the brilliant Julianne Moore and that amazing marketing campaign. With so many people staunchly against a re-imagining of the classic Brian De Palma film starring Sissy Spacek, I really wanted this adaptation to succeed. It had that underdog feeling about it. Unfortunately, while I found some things to praise, Carrie did not exceed the heavy expectations placed upon it. 

   The story is by now familiar - Carrie White (Grace Moretz) is shy and an outcast amongst her classmates. She is overly protected, sheltered, and abused by her God-fearing, religious mother Margaret (Moore). Carrie is also in possession of strange telekinetic powers, and is slowly becoming more aware of them, and of how to control them. After a particularly cruel incident at school, classmate Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde) feels guilty about the way Carrie is being treated and gets her boyfriend, Tommy (Ansel Elgort), to take Carrie to prom so that Carrie can have one special night at high school. Their classmates however, especially the spoilt and vindictive Chris (Portia Doubleday) have other plans...

   Right from the opening scenes, it is clear that the strong point and highlight of this film is Julianne Moore. She brings a wonderfully deranged, creepy edge to Margaret White. Margaret clearly has a strong emotional control over Carrie, and their relationship is perhaps more damaging to the young woman than anything that her classmates have ever done to her (thus far, at least). It's riveting, and Moore's performance brings out the best in Moretz. Their scenes together in the film are truly the most disturbing. 

   Sadly, this is where a lot of my praise for the film must end. None of the cast are terrible - I thought Moretz was able to capture a nice sense of timidity, and that Ansel Elgort was a good choice for the role of the likable, easy going Tommy. What they all had to struggle with was dialogue that often felt awkward and clunky, and a film that generally lacks any sense of originality. Yes, it is a story that has been told before, but that doesn't mean remakes don't have their merit. This just felt uninspired, and I struggled to maintain my interest. The final act in particular lacked tension, and Carrie's revenge, instead of being shocking or terrifying, just started to feel silly. 

   I feel absolutely ambivalent about this - to say I hated it would be lying, and courtesy of Moore, there were some enjoyable moments. But sadly, what started off fairly strong slowly went downhill. Don't feel too bad if you miss this one. 


  1. Good review Ruth. To me, just felt like another cash-grab remake that Hollywood throws out every month or so.

    1. Thanks Dan - it just felt a bit pointless. Nothing new was done with the story.


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