Which movie am I gonna watch tonight? Crimson Peak review
directed by Guillermo del Toro
staring Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam
This is one of those films I have been looking forward to see for a very long time. Being so excited about a film due to its incredible actors and a great director can often influence ones view quite a bit, so I would just like to mention that this review might be a little more biased than usual.
That being said I was definitely disappointed when I watched this since my expectations were very high so please keep that in mind.
Lets start with the good part though. The production design is incredible. Truly breath taking. For someone who is interested in the Victorian era and production design in general, I kept squirming in my seat with every new scene since it was so incredibly beautiful. The detail in this film is astounding and I think the production is perfection. The costumes were just as incredible and creative to the tiniest of details on the walls or even the glimpses of food shown.
I had no idea what this film was about, since I dont watch trailers or read synopses, but by seeing the actors and their names in the film (also I knew it was about a writer) I assumed Tom Hiddleston was the main character/writer and Jessica Chastain his wife, while Mia was a random girl probably there to stir up the pot.
I am super happy to say that this was not the case. I was simply influenced by Hollywoods usual formula and never expected the ladies to be the center of the story while Hiddleston was the “mere” love interest.
Johnny had told me after watching the film that the internet had been buzzing with news that Crimson Peak had some "reverse sexism" nude scenes in it. Since I did not know this, I was positively surprised about the rather feminist storyline it had. I like that it wasn't the 'in your face way' some films like to add now (often without actually being feminist) by simply having a female character yell “I don't need a man to rescue me”. Hollywood should try showing that sort of thing and having better female characters than just putting a feminist sticker on it by having those rather silly statements.
So yes, Crimson Peak did exactly that.
Its story is very Victorian but without those antiquated misogynistic undertones, while still staying in the realm of a realistic Victorian romance.
There is lots of wonderful feminist instances that I don't want to mention since it would reveal too much of the story but if anyone would like to have a chat about that, I would always be happy to.
Usually I dont write this sort of thing into my reviews. (believe me I rate movies on their racism and sexism quite harshly since I am very sick of seeing films I like but having to simply live with them being sexist, racist or often both) But this time I find it relevant. The heart of the film (even though I feel like it didn't 100% commit to one genre) is a Period romance film with dark undertones. After all, Guillermo del Toro said he wanted to make a Gothic Romance. And that is indeed what this film is.
I like Period Romance movies quite a lot, but besides them being more or less the same, they do usually perpetuate a certain amount of stereotypes about women which is honestly tiresome. Even if the female is the main character, watching these movies often messes with your perception of reality and as a woman, they can influence your way of thinking and being, more than one would like to admit ( I am looking at you Sleeping Beauty!). The great part about it is that I still got all those romantic elements that I want to see in this type of film, without feeling like I (the main protagonist) am a meek victim of faith that has to cater to the every whim of the males around me.
So in the end I still swooned and sighed while watching some of my fantasies come true on screen.
I do believe that by the 30 minute mark the story line should be clear to the viewer but I feel this was not the case here. More like watching two separate films with the same actors each being one hour long. In the end it almost felt like this is a six hour mini series, with lots of back stories and interesting info that they had to (not super successfully) cut down to a two hour film.
I guess what I want to say is this. The film is absolutely gorgeous, if you like romance you will get it, if you like seeing better female characters you will get that too. Crimson Peak also has the Guillermo del Toro touch with its unique ghosts, random bouts of violence and incredible visuals.
But don't expect an amazing film sine this is not it. It has its many flaws but in the end I still quite enjoyed myself. I am excited to watch it again with lower expectations to see how it holds up!
Otherwise if you like slightly campy classic Gothic films or Period Romances this is definitely for you.