Crimson Peak

November 6, 2015

crimson peakI was actually thinking about postponing this until… next week, maybe. But what the hell? Let’s do this! I’m going to write about Crimson Peak today, a Guillermo del Toro film, one I’ve been waiting to see since the day I heard the first whispers about it. Let me tell you this: there will be spoilers here. If you haven’t watched the film yet, do so. I recommend it.

There are many articles I haven’t read and interviews I haven’t seen, simply because I didn’t feel the need to look for them. Yet I know where I can find them and I’m considering buying the book as well, so there might be a second part to this article one day. I’ve waited to see the film (and I’ll return to it) for three reasons: Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain. It was one of those times when the actors brought me to the cinema… I couldn’t wait for October 2015.

I did enjoy the story, but the cast drew me to it. My issue with the plot is that everything felt too rushed. I would have liked to see a flashback with the Sharpe siblings as children, for example. Or something more to link the past to the present. Ah, but we have the ghosts, a constant reminder that things are far from right, that sometimes it’s too easy to find yourself trapped in the place where one should find affection and shelter. They look terrifying, but their intention is to protect, to help our heroine. They are always there, even when they are not seen or when their shape can only be guessed in the shadows.

Ghosts are real, that much I know. I’ve seen them all my life, we hear the protagonist say. But the ghosts are only a part of the story, a symbol you cannot ignore. We’re watching a gothic romance, one where we follow Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), a young American writer. Her life, what we see and what we guess, firmly turns towards tragedy once she meets Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) and his sister, Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain). Soon, Edith and Thomas marry and move to Allerdale Hall, except… there’s no happiness to be found there.

A house as old as this one becomes, in time, a living thing. It starts holding onto things… keeping them alive when they shouldn’t be. Some of them are good; some of them bad… Some should never be spoken about again.

crimson peak 2There are many secrets at Crimson Peak, dark and bloody as the place itself. There’s quite a bit of foreshadowing, so I’d say that viewers will guess how the film might end not long after the characters are introduced. But don’t expect the plot to give all its secrets away so easily. Love, mystery and madness are intertwined, and the three actors shape the characters in a way that will make the viewers want to learn more about them. What drives them? What happened to them in the past?

It’s a beautiful film, I’ve got to say this. Scary, yes, but incredibly beautiful. The soundtrack (especially Edith’s theme) is charming. It’s the first thing I looked for after I saw Crimson Peak. It holds so much sadness and does what I think every good soundtrack should do: it completes the story, adds tension and hints towards what lies behind the characters’ actions. The costumes are also gorgeous and the mansion… well, it takes your breath away. I wonder if it was left standing once the filming was done. How marvelous it would be to visit it and admire its details in person.

There’s one more thing I want to write about: butterflies. I’ve seen it before, this play of light and darkness and the characters which are more at home in one part or another. We also have this here, but it goes hand in hand with another pair: the butterfly and the moth, Edith and Lucille. Both symbols are perfect for these ladies. Edith is a woman who belongs to the day, beautiful, delicate. Lucille, on the other hand, is quite the opposite. Everything about her is dark and cold, from the way she dresses, to her attitude and thoughts. Even her love brings death with it.

Fortunately, the characters have more to offer. Edith has the strength to fight for her life and survives, while Lucille… I love Jessica Chastain in this part, she’s perfect for darker roles… Lucille is the most threatening presence in the film: she’s mad, incredibly sad and lonely. So where do we place Thomas Sharpe? Somewhere in the middle, I’d say. His love for Edith came as a sort of redemption, but he never actually gets the chance to be alive and free. It turns out one can leave Crimson Peak, if the right price is paid.crimson peak 3

The ending made me wonder what happened after we saw the Sharpe siblings for the last time. I honestly cannot imagine a happy ending for our characters, it wouldn’t fit the rest of the story. But that’s fine, the circle closed and the viewers are allowed to return and uncover the secrets left untold.

So… what did you think of the film? What did you like or dislike about it?

by Elena Atudosiei

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18 Responses to Crimson Peak

  1. Devika on November 6, 2015 at 9:02 am

    I really, really want to watch it! Tom is my main reason, but it also looks and sounds wonderfully intriguing.

    • Elena Atudosiei on November 6, 2015 at 7:41 pm

      Yes, Tom does tend to do that to us. I mean, I watched OLLA for him and Tilda. I would have liked to see more of Mia there, so I’m glad that she played such an important part in “Crimson Peak”.

  2. Kristi on November 6, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    I had heard so many ppl that were disappointed with the film. I think it wasnt marketed correctly and too many ppl expected a horror film

    I really enjoyed thr film. There was not enough Jim Beaver at all. Hos role as Papa Cushing was terrific. The set was gorgeous and the story heartbreaking. But while my heart broke, i wouldnsee it again.

    • Elena Atudosiei on November 6, 2015 at 8:15 pm

      I heard and read that some people were disappointed, but I don’t know what they were expecting to see. I’ll watch it again… later. The ending’s still too fresh now.

  3. Shawna on November 6, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    I really enjoyed it. I bought the novelization immediately after the movie, and it was sort of like getting to watch an extended cut. It filled in some blanks (did you wonder where Daddy Sharpe went? you’ll find out), and you got to see inside the head of the characters.

    • Elena Atudosiei on November 6, 2015 at 7:54 pm

      I’ll see when I can buy the book, I want to learn more about the story and the characters.

  4. Alina Andreea Catarau on November 6, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    You didn’t give too many details, did you? I would like to watch the film, but my schedule is pretty full right now, so I’m not sure how that would be possible. I’ll see what I can do.

    • Elena Atudosiei on November 6, 2015 at 9:36 pm

      Not many, no. It’s a pity we didn’t see it at the cinema together last month. I haven’t seen “Midnight in Paris” yes, so who knows? Maybe we’ll see the films around the same time. 🙂

      • Alina Andreea Catarau on November 6, 2015 at 10:08 pm

        I would have loved to see it with you. When it comes to “Midnight in Paris” it is easier to watch because I’ve got the DVD and we can watch it anytime you like.

  5. Ininya on November 7, 2015 at 5:14 am

    Well. I went and saw it for the horror of it, like many other viewers who were expecting a horror flick. And was Ultimately let down. It was disappointing enough as it is when it turned out to be a romance story, but the plotline of it made it worse for me. As a Guillermo Del Toro film fan I expected A Lot from him as this is like his big American comeback film from all those years of being away from it. Now back behind the camera again I was joyed to hear his return. But then I was let down big time.
    I was wishing he’d blow me away with his yet again unique story. But the story was the same marry for the money and then kill them off storyline. And the gross incest was put in just for the story of it. Especially the ending that threw me off big time. I was Praying it wouldn’t turn out as some are loftily predicting as the Sharpe’s would die and Edith run off with the little white knight (as the young doctor). I read this little prediction, just a little fan prediction from Tumblr predicting how’d it go. I was Truly hoping Guillermo would prove me wrong with his imagination and prove that prediction wrong. But to my hope crushing dread it did ended up Exactly like it. You don’t understand, but a part of me broke for that. I thought he could do better. Unimpressed. The main save of it was the costume design and the set. And the ghosts being real people and not CGI. Well, that’s very Guillermo of him if you knew his ways.
    So. This October as I was looking forward just in time for both Halloween and my birthday a good horror film to present me with it. But unexpectedly let down.
    Jeewiz. I was just expecting a lot from it. My way. But I know I’m picky, but some films even tho I don’t really like it I could somewhat tolerate it and enjoyed while I watched it. But with Crimson Peak I don’t think I would even watch it again. Not just the whole story, but the ending too. Ok, I kinda knew in the dark part of me that Thomas would die as it’s Guillermo’s style of flowing a story along. That he’d Always kill off a good character in the process of the story ending. And I’d knew it be Thomas. I wished it wouldn’t, but it did. Left me emotionally wrecked. So. A film I wouldn’t watch again. I can’t say more.

    • Elena Atudosiei on November 7, 2015 at 12:24 pm

      I usually can’t watch horror films, so the scary parts of “Crimson Peak” were enough for me (for now). I want to watch the film on DVD next time, I don’t like the loud sound in the cinema. Anyway, you and I have different views on the incest and the ending. My issue with the former is that I didn’t understand how it got that far. I rememeber it being “explained” at one point, but I wanted to see at least one scene from their past. As for the latter, the only knight I could see was Edith herself. The doctor was just… there.

      I’m just (re)discovering Guillermo del Toro’s films. I like what I see and hope that his next one will not disappoint you. 🙂

      • Ininya on November 8, 2015 at 10:07 am

        Well, the incest was explained alright. But just by words. And nothing much was shown about the past as some films would do. I feel it all rushed here. It’s feels a lot of the story was cramped into this one single arc of the film. For a Guillermo Del Toro film it’s very loose and flimsy. And also how is it that all those money they ‘inherited’ from Thomas and his wives aren’t put to good use by repairing the house and getting a real job, or even make it work with that fancy machine of his. I mean, I know they might got this mystic bond and all that thing with the house, but there’s a fine line of being film realistic and going beyond that. Oh.
        I can go on. And be a neg. I won’t bother anymore.

        • Elena Atudosiei on November 8, 2015 at 10:31 am

          Words aren’t enough, a flashback would have been better. As for the other points, I think that comes down to what you expected to see. I never wondered why they didn’t fix the house; my first thought was simply “wow”. I found it breathtaking. Not that it would be a good place to live in, but still. The Sharpes should have left once they got the money, start anew somewhere else, away from the past. But I return to a question left unanswered for me: what DID happen to them? And I’m not sure that the books can give a good enough answer.

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  9. kirsi m on July 31, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    I liked this film, I just re-watched it as DVD. I rarely watch new movies, but I like Gothics and this was nice change of pace. Thomas was – excuse the pun – hauntingly gorgeous and Edith cute as button.

    • Elena Atudosiei on July 31, 2016 at 3:58 pm

      For some reason, I don’t feel the need to re-watch it, but I loved it! I still listen to bits and pieces of the soundtrack at odd moments.

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