Critic 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.
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Critic Reviews for Serena
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.
In other words, a lot of people realized they had an epic clunker on their hands.
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.
The narrative has the choppy quality of a badly bowdlerised book, and the result is not bad so much as boring - and best thought of as a tree, fallen in the forest, that nobody heard.
When Rhys Ifans doing a Carolina accent is the best thing in your movie, well... Maybe it's time to call the whole thing off.
Audience Reviews for Serena
"Serena" is a capsule to expose these actors even more than they should be, as both of them do not belong together in this film. After "Silver Linings Playbook," Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence have been getting typecast, and that is the worst thing to happen to an actor in my opinion. The best way to describe this film is a remake of "Romeo and Juliet" in all of the worst ways possible. Every bit of romantic dialogue shared between them felt forced, as every shocked moment made me roll my eyes rather than be surprised. I felt like someone has taken the script of "Romeo and Juliet" and altered aspects to fit this time period, because many beats are duplicated here. "Serena" is finely shot, but aside from that, every other aspect, from storytelling to to filmmaking, was extremely formulaic. Now that is not always a bad thing, because with formulaic filmmaking, a great film can be made out of a well-written script. That is not the case here, so in the end, "Serena" falls flat in almost every regard. Even though I enjoyed viewing this cast, the film around them just continued to fall apart. Recommendable? Not in the least.
The plot is predictable and doesn't really come together as a whole, but the film has a handsome production design, a wonderful cinematography that explores to its best extent the beauty of its locations and two very intense performances from Lawrence and Cooper to make it worth it.
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.
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