SERENA – Film Review
by Michael Chasin
Before anything—we must care.
For without caring about the hero(es), being emotionally invested—there’s really no reason to watch.
Such is the issue with Serena—featuring A-Lister’s Bradley Cooper as George Pemberton and Jennifer Lawrence as Serena, his new wife—and business partner.
Mr. Cooper is a northern entrepreneur who is now in the timber business in 1930’s North Carolina.
Ms. Lawrence has lost her parents in a fire—which she somehow survived—and is an apparent timber business wunderkind.
They don’t meet cute—instead too instantly fall in love—followed by a love-making montage that concludes with marriage.
This robs the audience of any reason to know them or care about them.
The film continues without a specific goal for them—other than their eliminating anyone who may be in the way of their divine right to have whatever they want, because they are George and Serena.
Their feeling of entitlement is actually a reason to hate them—as they murder, bribe, and work to obscenely profit from the establishment of a national park.
Serena ends in heroic contrivance—with each seemingly self-sacrificing—just before they would have otherwise been punished for their deeds.
The only happy part of the ending is that they will finally do no more harm—which is not a reason for an audience to feel satisfied.
Perhaps those who green-lit Serena cared only about a re-pairing of Silver Linings Playbook’s Mr. Cooper and Ms. Lawrence—and not their characters, in Serena.
Next week, Mr. Chasin will follow up with a companion piece.