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Drama . Romance

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.

Actors: Jennifer Lawrence , Bradley Cooper , Rhys Ifans , Toby Jones , Blake Ritson , Sean Harris , Sam Reid , Kim Bodnia , Ana Ularu , Charity Wakefield
Directors: Susanne Bier
Release: 2015-02-26
More Info:
  • Joe Neumaier

    The atmosphere surrounding them both is enveloping. While the story falls a bit into melodrama, that can’t chop away at the solid drama the stars and director build beautifully.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    Funny how there are fans of Jennifer Lawrence who will never see her in Serena. It’s not her best film, but it contains one of her best performances, in a role that challenges her more than any other.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Inkoo Kang

    Densely packed and gorgeously expressionist, the old-fashioned tragedy is very nearly a satisfying experience despite its various shortcomings.

    TheWrap Full Review
  • Geoff Pevere

    A film that should be shamelessly soaked in passion and thrusting erotic delirium is instead posed and prettified, to the point where “camp” comes to mean more than the place where lumberjacks work – it’s also the movie’s defining vibe.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Gary Goldstein

    It's absorbing, well-played stuff until Serena's emotional baggage turns her into a kind of lethal Blanche DuBois and melodrama overtakes the film's muscular bearing.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Guy Lodge

    An arrestingly nihilistic Depression melodrama, marked by courageous performances and exquisite production values... The result is both problematic and fascinating, an unsympathetic spiral of human tragedy that plays a little like a hand-me-down folk ballad put to film.

    Variety Full Review
  • Vadim Rizov

    Played as a kind of constant wake, grimly marching on to tragedy, Serena is hurt by relentless applications of Johan Söderqvist’s unimaginatively somber score and DP Morten Søborg’s reliance on lots of over-the-shoulder handheld shots, the camera swinging close to and around people’s faces and shoulders.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    Director Susanne Bier and screenwriter Christopher Kyle (no, not the man depicted in “American Sniper”) aim for a tragic monumentality but hit very wide of the mark.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Joe Williams

    Based on an acclaimed novel by Ron Rash, Serena is like a towering tale that’s been fed into a woodchipper.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    Whatever Ron Rash’s novel had to offer, Bier has rendered it into something soapy, with everything compelling about it washed out.

    Movie Nation Full Review
  • Charlie Lyne

    This is a film full of unremarkable compromises — the kind that result in a bland film rather than a bad one.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Jeff Baker

    Bier's direction seems tentative, unsure whether to go all-in on the pulpier aspects of the story or play it straight. She gets mixed results from her leads: Cooper is game but not fierce or conflicted enough; Lawrence doesn't get deep enough to pull anyone along on her spiral into madness.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Serena Donadoni

    Screenwriter Christopher Kyle touches on hot-button issues of class conflict, land use, and no-holds-barred capitalism. He also strips Serena of moral ambiguity, turning deeply twisted relationships into a doomed romance where transgressors punish themselves.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Scott Tobias

    Serena is quite bad, as it happens, but until it goes absolutely haywire in the final act, the biggest problem is that it’s all bones and no flesh, so busy combining all the structural elements that go into an award-winner that it has no personality of its own.

    The Dissolve Full Review
  • Stephen Dalton

    It is difficult to believe a single word of it, still less to care about these relentlessly selfish and short-sighted characters.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Cath Clarke

    We don’t invest anything in either character, and with barely any tension, Serena grabs neither head nor heart.

    Time Out London Full Review
  • Angie Errigo

    Commercially it looks a disaster. Artistically, if very far from a triumph, it’s interesting, almost held together by its charismatic stars.

    Empire Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Serena is one long eye-roll of calamities and corn.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    It must have looked great on paper. On screen, it’s a soapy mess that even Joan Crawford in her delusional late-period prime couldn’t save.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    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.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Brian Tallerico

    It’s 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. Full Review
  • Richard Roeper

    Lawrence, obviously a talented actress, is monumentally bad here. There’s no nuance to her performance as Serena, no gradual descent for the character. She’s a conniving, criminal nutball, and Lawrence overplays her as if she’s a villainess in a mediocre silent film.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Stephanie Merry

    Cooper and Lawrence do their best, but the material consistently works against them, from the overwrought dialogue to the never-ending plot twists in place of character development.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Audiences forced to endure the 109 coma-inducing minutes of Serena should bring an e-book or a soft pillow.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Lou Lumenick

    The choppily edited and thoroughly wooden Serena utterly fails to catch fire, even when everything literally goes up in flames. So despite its big stars, it’s getting only a token theatrical release.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Rex Reed

    This is an unfortunate next step for Mr. Cooper, while Ms. Lawrence, who co-starred with him memorably in "Silver Linings Playbook" and "American Hustle," finds the third time far from a charm, more like a curse.

    New York Observer Full Review
  • Chuck Bowen

    The film can't reconcile Ron Rash's apocalyptic tenderness with its own eagerness to revel in romantic star allure.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Oliver Lyttelton

    The film isn't bad enough to be some kind of potential cult classic: it's tedious, with even the stranger moments and plot developments failing to raise the pulse.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    Any kind of acting requires courage. Great acting requires formidable courage. Then there’s the dogged courage, spawned by devotion to duty, of wonderful actors like these, doing what they’re asked to do even though they must know that it’s no damned good.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
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  • 12. There Ain't No Sweet Man That's Worth the Salt of My Tears Performer: Paul Whiteman and Orchestra Stream Music Online

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  • corruption

  • sheriff

  • mountains

  • wilderness

  • ambition

  • north carolina

  • marriage

  • murder

  • debt

  • empire

  • hunting

  • woman director

  • logging

  • 1920s

  • femme fatale

  • jealousy

  • great depression

  • strong female lead

  • title directed by female

  • strong female character

  • no opening credits

  • setting oneself on fire

  • strangulation

  • murder of an old woman

  • blackmail

  • flashlight

  • telephone call

  • throat slitting

  • straight edge razor

  • hotel room

  • defacing a photograph

  • dead deer

  • waterfall

  • humming

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  • payday

  • ledger book

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  • smashing a baby crip with an axe

  • tree stump

  • crying

  • blood stain

  • hospital

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  • tourniquet

  • axe accident

  • hand injury

  • blood splatter

  • blood

  • whistle

  • baby crib

  • snow

  • flash camera

  • throwing an axe

  • reference to the bible

  • church

  • unwed mother

  • guilt

  • back scar

  • crying baby

  • baby boy

  • cigarette case

  • coroner

  • autopsy

  • liar

  • lie

  • horse and wagon

  • murder disguised as hunting accident

  • pointing a rifle at someone

  • pride

  • hound dog

  • dog

  • drinking

  • drink

  • fireplace

  • betrayal

  • bank loan

  • collateral

  • friendship

  • friend

  • homosexual subtext

  • rain

  • reference to asheville north carolina

  • eminent domain

  • bribery

  • u s senator

  • politics

  • safe

  • money

  • partner

  • cabin

  • talking to an eagle

  • barn

  • looking at one's self in a mirror

  • mirror

  • photographer

  • camera

  • logging baron

  • national park

  • falconry

  • anguish

  • mental illness

  • house on fire

  • suicide by fire

  • suicide

  • cigarette lighter

  • making a bed

  • dead body

  • death of husband

  • death of protagonist

  • panther attack

  • knife

  • rifle pointed at camera

  • gunshot

  • kiss on the forehead

  • noland north carolina

  • train boxcar

  • fight on a train

  • running after a train

  • chase

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  • shushing

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  • baby in danger

  • reference to washington d.c.

  • reference to kingsport tennessee

  • husband chokes wife

  • ex con

  • saw

  • bachelor

  • giving someone a bath

  • bathtub

  • bath

  • cigar smoking

  • reference to colorado

  • reference to brazil

  • pregnancy

  • handshake

  • reference to jesus christ

  • train station

  • cigarette smoking

  • dancing

  • slow motion scene

  • timber camp

  • horse jumping

  • reference to god

  • bare chested male

  • runaway train

  • timbering accident

  • loan

  • letter

  • train tracks

  • axe

  • cutting down a tree

  • food

  • serving tray

  • mountain

  • small town

  • rural setting

  • dancer

  • horse

  • rifle

  • prologue

  • smoky mountains

  • woods

  • bank

  • barreness

  • sex

  • death

  • kiss

  • illegitimate son

  • melodrama

  • nature conservation

  • miscarriage

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  • timber business

  • 1930s

  • year 1929

  • teen parent

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  • based on novel

  • title spoken by character

  • horseback riding

  • forename as title

  • train

  • bear

  • rattlesnake

  • eagle

  • panther

  • one word title