Rebecca ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Rebecca is all about the love affair between the late Mrs. De Winter and Mrs. Danvers, which every other relationship in the film revolves about and around. I don't care if Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine are happy in the slightest. He is perfectly beastly to her, valuing her primarily for her youthful inexperience and naivete while she has made the error that many young people make in identifying with someone who is incapable of loving you for who you are because they are too caught up in their own interior drama, for which they despise themselves. This isn't due to his preoccupation with his late wife Rebecca, he was incapable of understanding anything about her either, locked only into his own perspective, a shallow ignorance resulting in condescension and hatred.

Rebecca was made at a time when queer love was formally coded by the law, by religion, by science as deviant and wrong and had to be managed surreptitiously, frequently under the cover and locked within heteronormative relationships. The late Mrs. De Winter had as her steadfast companion Mrs. Danvers within her marriage and her affair she may have conducted to produce an heir to the estate. It seems that Rebecca may have told Maxim that she was a lesbian on their honeymoon and that their marriage would continue under that knowledge. We only see Rebecca through the eyes of those who remember her. It is important to not privilege one remembrance above any other, but Mrs. Danvers' recollection burns most fiercely, her love not only surviving death but allowed for the first time to become one with the current manifestation of Manderlay in its decor, its routine, a shrine to her beloved, and finally joining her in death. Rebecca is a ghost story where those who are left behind are haunted, even in the potential absence of a spectre.

When the late Mrs. De Winter goes to town to see a doctor for her illness under the name of Mrs. Danvers, this is how I believe she truly saw herself in her actual marriage. We never see or hear about a Mr. Danvers within the confines of this tale because there is no room for such a person, if there ever was one at all.

Rebecca and Mrs. Danvers are portrayed as monstrous and inhuman, outside of the regular order of nature, even as they are forced to live within its confines, a ghastly situation which when sustained leads to terrible consequences.

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