Critics Consensus

Serena unites an impressive array of talent on either side of the cameras -- then leaves viewers to wonder how it all went so wrong.



Total Count: 110


Audience Score

User Ratings: 13,522
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Serena Photos

Movie Info

The North Carolina mountains at the end of the 1920s - George and Serena Pemberton, love-struck newly-weds, begin to build a timber empire. Serena soon proves herself to be equal to any man: overseeing loggers, hunting rattle-snakes, even saving a man's life in the wilderness. With power and influence now in their hands, the Pembertons refuse to let anyone stand in the way of their inflated love and ambitions. However, once Serena discovers George's hidden past and faces an unchangeable fate of her own, the Pemberton's passionate marriage begins to unravel leading toward a dramatic reckoning. (C) Magnolia

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Jennifer Lawrence
as Serena Pemberton
Bradley Cooper
as George Pemberton
Rhys Ifans
as Galloway
Toby Jones
as Sheriff McDowell
David Dencik
as Buchanan
Ana Ularu
as Rachel
Sean Harris
as Campbell
Sam Reid
as Vaughn
Blake Ritson
as Lowenstein
Ned Dennehy
as Ledbetter
Christian McKay
as Banker in Boston
Michael Ryan
as Coldfield
Mark O'Neal
as Lumberjack
Jim High
as Woodcutter
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News & Interviews for Serena

Critic Reviews for Serena

All Critics (110) | Top Critics (35)

  • It's an odd misfire from two actors at the peak of their game, but a misfire nonetheless.

    Nov 10, 2015
  • Absolutely nothing works. No one seems to understand the place or the people. And the only thing gleaned from the lumber industry is that you can build an entire movie from performances made of wood.

    Apr 9, 2015 | Full Review…
  • In other words, a lot of people realized they had an epic clunker on their hands.

    Mar 27, 2015 | Rating: 1.0
  • Given these unpromising circumstances, I was expecting something truly awful, and perhaps that might have been more fun to watch than this lugubrious period piece. The production values and the costumes are the true stars.

    Mar 27, 2015 | Rating: C | Full Review…
  • A flat-out disaster, the kind of film that its cast and crew hope gets buried as quickly as possible as they race to move on to other projects.

    Mar 27, 2015 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • The actors don't just look uncomfortable in their period duds, they also look uneasy in their own skins, which is a feat for two such natural, physically confident screen performers.

    Mar 26, 2015 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Serena

  • Apr 18, 2016
    Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in the dramatic period film Serena. Set in the 1930s, a businessman and his young bride work together to run a struggling North Carolina logging company. Cooper and Lawrence both give strong performances and have good chemistry together. And the production values are especially good; particularly the score, which does a great job at setting mood and atmosphere. But the plot is pretty thin, and takes a rather dark turn at the end. Yet despite a few weaknesses, Serena is an intriguing character drama.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 30, 2015
    Disappointing. The first half of this film was actually pretty good, but the last maybe 40 minutes or so really drops off in quality. The one good thing I can say about this film is that Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are great here, but that's to be expected.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Jun 28, 2015
    ...just meanders aimlessly along.
    Marcus W Super Reviewer
  • Mar 31, 2015
    When thinking about what to write about a film I typically latch onto a main idea that comes to mind as I watch the movie. With something like Serena though it is hard to pin down because there isn't really anything there for one to think about and so the main idea, by default, becomes the lack of investment in what is going on. Despite the countless attempts by the story to keep throwing curve balls in an exhaustive manner intended to make me care there was simply nothing to dig into here. In many ways, I'm still sitting here wondering what exactly I watched as I type this and try to formulate a response to a film I'm not quite sure I understood the purpose of. What was it trying to say? Was there something I missed or were its intentions to purely demonstrate melodrama for the sake of entertainment? I may never key into what exactly director Susanne Bier's long delayed project wanted to be because I likely won't ever sit down to take it in again, but if there is anything to be said for the effort it is that I can see how this felt like a good idea. A winning formula, if you will. Grab two of the biggest movie stars on the planet right now (though at the time this was made they could easily be labeled up and comers), stick them in a period piece where they can flaunt their dramatic acting chops and lift the story from a well-received 2008 novel by Ron Rash in hopes that something of an Awards contender emerges. Unfortunately, that is not what we have on our hands here, but instead Serena is simply a middle of the road movie that features solid performances from its two leads and an eclectic host of supporting players with some lush photography and naturally gorgeous locations, but never matches its aesthetic in theme or story as it devolves into one trite situation after the next. These situations are intended to up the shock factor and the audiences emotional response and investment, but rather feel forced into a film that was never really all that interesting in the first place. read the whole review at
    Philip P Super Reviewer

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