It's been sitting on the shelf for more than a year, but Jennifer Lawrence's big-screen reunion with Bradley Cooper, "Serena," finally had its premiere in the U.K. at the London Film Festival.
Lawrence plays the titular Serena, a young woman with a mysterious past in Depression-era North Carolina. She meets George Pemberton (Cooper), and it's love -- or at least marriage -- at nearly-first sight.
Though the fact that the film is just now seeing the light of day, about two years after shooting wrapped, as well as the murmurs that U.S. release will be in February via the good old internet -- red flags both -- critics in the first reviews trickling out seem to feel OK about "Serena." One might even say Lawrence kills -- her character does, at least, literally.
Here's what the critics are saying about the first look at "Serena."
"Filmed in the picturesque forests of the Czech Republic, Serena is a handsomely mounted yarn with high production values. The lovely period costumes, muted autumnal colors and mostly hand-held camerawork by Morton Soborg are all pleasing touches. Likewise the starry cast, which includes Romanians, Czechs and well-known Brits like Toby Jones shamelessly hamming up their stagey Deep South accents." - Stephen Dalton, Hollywood Reporter
No Performance Anxiety
"Given the ever-present backdrop of the lumber industry, headline writers the world over will be disappointed to hear that none of the film’s central performances could reasonably be described as wooden. Lawrence is as reliably engaged as ever, finding a convincing emotional path through even the shallowest of lines (to be fair, she’s had two X-Men movies’ worth of practice). Cooper, likewise, is un-showy but competent as Serena’s slowly unravelling husband George, a sturdy role that caps off his career-long quest to play as many Men With Responsibilities as possible. As an actor, Cooper has always been in his element lying in bed at night, staring at the ceiling and mulling over the difficult task at hand (whether that’s plagiarizing an unpublished novel in The Words or navigating the corruption of a local police department in The Place Beyond the Pines), and he gets plenty more chances to do so here." - Charlie Lyne, New York Magazine
The Action Is Creative
"After an exceedingly slow-burning 45 minutes, an abrupt murder kicks the proceedings into the kind of high melodramatic key for which Bier is known, as Serena’s mental state rapidly deteriorates following a miscarriage, setting in motion a chain of dubiously motivated acts of malice. A finale that integrates arson, animal attacks and a three-way manhunt is far more high-flown than that of the source novel, though there’s something brazen about its stubborn resistance to conventional moral redemption. Bier’s Danish-language work, usually structurally and emotionally cohesive to a fault, has rarely been this compellingly untidy." - Guy Lodge, Variety
The U.S. release date for "Serena" has not yet been announced.