Ok, what the heck? I liked this. I can’t understand how critics could trash it so bad. Serena is an engrossing tale of lumber barons, romance, betrayal, murder, and complicated character interactions. Sure, it’s totally depressing but that doesn’t make it a bad film. The period is beautifully depicted with lush colors and warm tones. Some of the shots of the smokey mountains are downright gorgeous. Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper have excellent charisma together and are immediately believable as the love interest (even with a rushed – but what I thought kind of cool idea – courtship & marriage).
Female director Susanne Bier does an admirable job on most fronts, pacing, coaching her actors, etc. I’ll admit that some of the editing was a bit off like the beginning slow motion horse riding sequence. But it was nowhere near (not even in the same universe) as the critic’s claims that the film was an unmitigated disaster. Maybe the biggest problem this film has is that it should have been an hour longer to really be able to develop some of the complicated plot lines. It may not be a masterpiece but if you like films such as There Will Be Blood, you should check this out.