Armie Hammer’s gothic thriller Rebecca, released for streaming on Netflix in October of 2020, has been met with sour reviews and a dark overshadowing of the lead character’s personal life. The movie was initially released in select theaters but started streaming only five days after its theatrical release.
Rebecca has been adapted multiple times since it was first published in 1938, with the most recent on Netflix starring Armie Hammer and Lily James.
Based on an adaptation of the 1938 novel by Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca was first made into a movie by famed director and screenwriter Alfred Hitchcock in 1940. With a large team of writers, the 2020 version of the film began filming in June of 2019.
Rebecca presents the story of a young woman (Lily James) who works as a housemaid in Monte Carlo. Through her work, she meets Maxim de Winter (Armie Hammer), a recent widower with a large bank account and a large estate.
After a whirlwind courtship, Maxim proposes, and the two get married. Once back at his mansion in England (Manderley), the new Mrs. de Winter quickly finds that all is not exactly well in the manor. Manderley is riddled with spirits that have yet to pass on, and the original Mrs. de Winter is among them.
The original Mrs. de Winter was mysteriously lost in a boating accident years before. Living in the shadow of the first Mrs. de Winter, Lily James’ character is poised to fear that she will never measure up to her memory. Everyone in the mansion still mourns her passing, and her spirit is felt in every part of the estate.
As the movie progresses, there are several twists and turns revealed. The manner of the first Mrs. de Winter’s death is placed in question, Rebecca’s new husband is placed in custody, and Mrs. Danver goes off the rails. As the chaos in the plot ensues, the audience is left questioning the true antagonist in the story.
Armie Hammer, for all the times Hollywood pushed him as a leading man, never quite broke through to that next level.
The story of Rebecca has certainly been proven to have staying power, as the original book has never gone out of print. However, the 2020 adaptation of the film doesn’t hold the same appeal, and the critics were not shy to say so.
Some critics said that the publicity of the movie was quite corny and not well done, causing it to be highly mocked in the industry. Others felt that Armie Hammer never truly grasped the air of a man with a dark secret. Rotten Tomato users only gave the film a 38 percent approval rating, and some even said that Ben Wheatley had no business trying to make a gothic horror flick.
The Accusations Against Armie Hammer
Adding to the dismay of the filmmakers, Armie Hammer tainted the film with his own personal shortcomings. When allegations of rape and physical and emotional abuse went public, the viewing public swiftly canceled the actor.
Amidst the backlash of the accusations, Hammer reportedly swam as far out to sea as he possibly could, hoping to meet his death in some way. The actor stated that the only reason he came back to shore was because he realized he had left his children there.
Hammer was dropped by his acting agency and lost or forfeited several big-time gigs he had lined up. Ultimately, he withdrew from his career as an actor and from the eye of the public.
There’s no telling whether or not he will ever return to the big screen, but there is news that the sexual assault charges against Armie Hammer have since been dropped.
The actor told one source that he was much better off in his current state, as he has found more time to focus on his children and live a more relaxed life. Hammer stated that he is much “happier, healthier, and more balanced” after facing such a debacle.
Ultimately, Rebecca isn’t likely to go down in history as a very memorable adaptation. However, there is still plenty of opportunity for viewers to form their own opinions. Rebecca is currently streaming on Netflix. Grab a friend and take a peek at the flick to decide how you feel about the modern remake.