Susanne Bier’s Depression-era drama Serena is one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2014. Based upon the acclaimed novel of the same name by American author Ron Rash, the movie reunites critically acclaimed Silver Linings Playbook leads Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.
Academy Award-winning Lawrence and Academy Award-nominated Cooper are two of the most talented actors in Hollywood today. Their ever-rising star profiles and undisputed, already-established chemistry ensure there is a high level of interest in the international trailer for Serena, which premiered online last week.
Set in 1930s North Carolina, Serena follows the fortunes of Serena (Lawrence) and George Pemberton (Cooper) a young couple who establish a Southern timber empire. The trailer opens with Serena horseback riding through luscious North American woods and George approaching her for the first time: “I came to say hello” he says, “I think we should be married,” Serena laughs in response and the attraction between the two is immediately evident. We see a whirlwind montage of their courtship and marriage, but the dramatic drumbeat suggests this is anything but a conventional period romance.
The timber empire might be in George’s name, but he emphasises that it belongs to the two of them: “Did you find a wife or a partner?” questions a colleague, “Both,” smiles George. The couple appears to be living a charmed existence, successful and utterly in love, but the underlying threat of menace comes to a head midway through the trailer. It becomes apparent that the Depression is taking a toll on their business as stocks begin to fall.
This career setback comes hand in hand with a devastating personal setback, as Serena discovers George has a child with another woman. Accusations of murder follow, we are shown glimpses of heated arguments between the lovers, shots of a building ablaze, a glimpse of the two in hospital beds and a man is even shown falling under a wooden beam upon a railway track. As the trailer reaches its dramatic denouement and the drumbeats heighten, the emphasis returns to the romance and the words “Some loves can never let you go” flash across the screen.
The trailer is certainly intriguing. Whether you find it overly dramatic perhaps depends on your penchant for romance-come-thrillers. A moment when Lawrence dramatically launches a hawk off her arm, which we then see fly across the mountains, comes across as slightly over the top out of context.
Despite this, the trailer undoubtedly hooks you in; the viewer becomes invested in George and Serena’s relationship and eager to find out more about what befalls them. Lawrence and Cooper sizzle in the trailer, displaying every range of the emotional spectrum. The pairing of two such talented actors, the beautiful on-location shots of the North Carolina woods and the meticulously researched, beautiful period costumes make Serena definitely one to look out for after its international premiere at the London Film Festival in October.