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USA/Frankreich 2014 - with Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Rhys Ifans, Toby Jones ...

The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:

Movie info

Original title:Serena
Direction:Susanne Bier
Cinema release:18.12.2014
Production country:USA/Frankreich 2014
Running time:Ca. 109 min.
Rated:From 12 years
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North Carolina in 1929: The ambitious wood entrepreneur George Pemberton (Bradley Cooper) seems spoiled by success. He owns large forest areas in the Smoky Mountains and also in Brazil, where he would like to spend his future, he owns lucrative land. But luckily he still lacks the right woman at his side. He seems to have found them in the self-confident Serena (Jennifer Lawrence), heiress of a great lumberjack dynasty. Against all odds, Serena succeeds in asserting herself in a male-dominated world in the harsh forests of the Smoky Mountains. Even the taciturn foreman Galloway (Rhys Ifans) soon has great respect for the strong woman, who apparently endures with dignity that her husband has knocked up another woman. But when environmentalists want to turn the area into a national park and Sheriff McDowell (Toby Jones) becomes more interested in George's business, the air becomes increasingly thin for the young couple. When a heavy blow of fate destroys the happiness of the family, the romance that began so passionately takes a dramatic turn…

"Serena" brings the new Hollywood dream couple Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence together for the third time. After "Silver Linings" and "American Hustle" the two of them now stood in front of the camera in the Czech Republic for the Danish Oscar winner Susanne Bier ("In a better world"). Based on the novel of the same name by Ron Rash, Beer's second Hollywood production tells a dramatic love story about big dreams, jealousy and the dark side of the human soul. It's often a very quiet movie with a depressing mood.

Although the camera work is really first class and makes sure that "Serena" is wonderful to look at and although all the actors, especially the barely recognizable Rhys Ifans ("Notting Hill") and Oscar-winning Jennifer Lawrence, deliver convincing to very good performances, the spark doesn't really want to jump at the audience. Except for some small highlights, the staging remains surprisingly emotionless, which has the consequence that the viewer simply loses interest in the story and its brittle drawn characters at some point.

This way a somewhat ambivalent overall impression emerges at the end. On the one hand, the story is interesting at its core, the visual language is fascinating and the actors themselves are absolutely convincing. On the other hand, the staging lacks the very honest emotionality that has been the hallmark of Beer's previous work. Even her rather routine romantic comedy "Love is all you need" could convince in this respect much better than the more ambitious and technically superior sequel "Serena". Wrapped up in the very special atmosphere that the movie radiates, this weakness can still be covered up quite well, especially in the first half of the movie. But in the final act it reveals itself more and more clearly and the viewer only feels a disappointing emptiness at the end.

Who can overlook the fact that the story can't even come close to unfolding its emotional power and who is satisfied with a great visual language to be carried through almost two hours, this arthouse drama can definitely be recommended to him. But those who expect the same chemistry between Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper as in their previous collaboration and a similarly high entertainment value will be bitterly disappointed. That's only enough for one: Worth seeing with restrictions

An article by Frankfurt-Tipp


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Cinema trailer for the movie "Serena (USA/Frankreich 2014)"
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