Why Netflix's ‘Rebecca’ (2020) is a Dream of a Romance. Sharing thoughts on this Lily James and Armie Hammer adaptation. Text © Rissi JC

Why Netflix’s ‘Rebecca’ (2020) is a Dream of a Romance

October 28, 2020 14 Comments

With a stellar cast and a popular home, Rebecca (2020) may not have received the buzz it hoped, but it certainly has enough to recommend it.

Rebecca (2020) Netflix Review

For most people, visiting Monte Carlo is a relaxing vacation. For a young, naïve orphaned girl, it’s work. You see she acts as the companion to a Mrs. Van Hopper, a woman who’s more than a little demanding and quite unkind. While there, she makes the acquaintance of Maxim de Winter (Armie Hammer), a wealthy man of the world who is said be under a cloud in the aftermath of his wife’s death.

Older than her and quite the subject of conversation among his peers, Maxim shows her kindness. Soon just before she’s set to leave with Mrs. Van Hopper, Maxim proposes marriage, and makes her the second Mrs. de Winter (Lily James). What the new Mrs. de Winter doesn’t know is that Maxim’s family estate, Manderley, is like a kind of ghostly shrine to his first wife, all kept in perfect running order by housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers (Kristin Scott Thomas).

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Why Netflix's Rebecca (2020) is a Dream of a Romance. Sharing thoughts on this Lily James and Armie Hammer adaptation. Text © Rissi JC

There’s so many stories I have never before experienced, either in literature or through an adaptation. One of these is Rebecca, the popular Gothic romantic suspense by Daphne du Maurier. This recent version of the novel lands on Netflix, and purposefully, I made the effort to stay away from reviews until I’d sorted my thoughts. Just as a guess, since I see little Twitter chatter, this seems like one of those productions that isn’t an immediate favorite.

As this is my first experience with the story, I don’t have anything to compare. Prior to hitting play, I had read about six chapters of the novel, and while it was difficult to get into, I did like it better as I turned more pages. That said, with the novel clocking in at nearly 400 pages (and with a tiny print), I didn’t want to wait. Instead I broke my own rule and went ahead and watched the film before reading the book. (Side note: I am still reading it though, so we’ll see if I finish!) What I read of the novel versus saw seems pretty true to form. The “feel” of the novel is translated to screen, and then of course there’s the cast.

I’m asking you to marry me, you little fool. – Rebecca

No one in the main cast is a stranger to period drama. There’s Armie Hammer who has appeared in films like Snow White and the Huntsman to The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; Kristin Scott Thomas is an award-winning actress; and of course Lily James has appeared in everything from Downton Abbey to Disney’s Cinderella, and also Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Speaking of P+P+Z, you’ll also see Sam Riley in a minor role and Keeley Hawes as well.

This isn’t a story for everyone, but I thought it was really, very good. The mystery angle is fascinating and keeps me guessing; the sets and costumes are pretty, and of course, there is a solid chemistry in the cast that helps to sell every detail of the plot. I don’t love that the author never names the heroine, and therefore we don’t have a name in this script either, but again, I like the whole mysterious aspect of the story. I want to believe the way this ends is a happy one, and in many respects it is, but the final image we see makes me question this (again), and that’s not really where I want to leave off.

That said, Rebecca (2020) is a solid and intriguing period drama that I really like; it boasts an almost ethereal, dreamy quality that I think can be attributed to source material, yes, but also its cast. It has (contrary to its genre!) an adorable meet-cute, and is visually mesmerizing.


Why Netflix's ‘Rebecca’ (2020) is a Dream of a Romance. Sharing thoughts on this Lily James and Armie Hammer adaptation. Text © Rissi JC
Why Netflix's ‘Rebecca’ (2020) is a Dream of a Romance. Sharing thoughts on this Lily James and Armie Hammer adaptation. #RebeccaNetflix #LilyJames #Adaptation #Movies #Netflix #PeriodDrama #Romance #GothicRomance Click To Tweet

Content: there’s a far-off shot of two people (naked) being intimate; passionate kissing and some removal of clothing in other scenes. We see a married couple in bed a few times.

Photos: Netflix

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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  • Paula Shreckhise October 29, 2020 at 10:28 am

    I’m itching to see this adaptation. Rebecca is one of my favorite books. I did like the mystery of not naming the second Mrs. DeWinter. The book has a different ending than I would have thought.

  • […] NETFLIX REVIEW | Why Netflix’s ‘Rebecca’ (2020) is a Dream of a Romance […]

  • Sara (Majoringinliterature) October 31, 2020 at 11:49 am

    Great review! The costumes and sets in this adaptation were so beautiful, and I also enjoyed the romance between the main characters… that being said, I’ve been a big fan of the Alfred Hitchcock version of Rebecca (1940) for many years, and after watching Hitchcock, it’s hard for anything else to measure up. :D

    • Rissi JC November 9, 2020 at 6:43 pm

      They are! I haven’t seen the Hitchcock version so this is my first experience with the story. Add to that that I tend to prefer newer adaptations, and like you with the 40s adaptation, I’ll probably be loyal to this one. But I get having a preferred version. We love the versions we love, right? :) Glad you shared, Sara.

  • Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse November 2, 2020 at 11:30 am

    I need to watch this one sometime. I can’t get myself to pick up the book despite everyone telling me I nee to. I would love to “cheat” this way. It sounds so good.

    Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse recently posted: Review: Jordan Reclaimed (Scarlett Cole)
  • Rissi JC November 9, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    I don’t like classic lit, and did have quite a hard time getting into this one, but I’m liking the book. In fact I’m surprised that I’ve continued to read it post seeing the film. But here’s hoping I finish it!! Let me know if you read or see this one. :)

  • Mareli @ Elza Reads November 12, 2020 at 6:05 am

    My Book Club have movie night the first Monday in December and we’ve already booked this one as our movie to watch. I’ve read the book a couple of years ago and LOVED it. I’ve loved all Daphne du Maurier’s books, but this one really is in a league of its own.

    Your Netflix review was lovely, I can’t wait to watch it!

    Elza Reads

    Mareli @ Elza Reads recently posted: Adoption Anniversary - Where our Adventure begun
  • Alison Boss March 2, 2021 at 8:14 pm

    I have been wanting to see this new movie of Rebecca. Years ago when I was a teenager I read Reader’s Digest condensed version of Rebecca and really enjoyed it. Your review has me definitely intrigued. The cast sounds great! Now I’m really looking forward to watching the movie! Thanks, Rissi! :)

    • Rissi JC March 8, 2021 at 10:32 pm

      Ooo, hope you enjoy, Alison! I started to read the book pre-movie and haven’t finished it. I’m embarrassed by this, really, but am hopeful I’ll finish it someday. Either way, the movie is really quite good. Let me know what you think if you see it. :)

  • Alison Boss March 9, 2021 at 1:50 pm

    My daughter and I watched Rebecca this past weekend and LOVED it! It was REALLY good!! Thanks so much for the recommendation, Rissi!!!

    • Rissi JC March 15, 2021 at 10:33 pm

      I’m so glad, Alison!! Thanks for sharing; love to hear everyone else’s perspective/thoughts on any topic discussed here. :)

  • […] NETFLIX REVIEW | Why Netflix’s ‘Rebecca’ (2020) is a Dream of a Romance […]

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