Director William Oldroyd’s Lady Macbeth sounds as though it’s an adaptation from another William–Shakespeare, that is. Rather, it’s based on an 1865 Russian novella by Nikolai Leskov, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. Regardless of which Macbeth this British film references, its lead actress, newcomer Florence Pugh, is well worth watching. There is something utterly riveting about her, even when her most obvious physicality is sitting quietly on a couch.
Lady Macbeth marks Pugh’s first lead in a feature film after having moved into acting only two years prior to her casting. Her command of the role–and the screen–are great; this won’t be the last time we see her.
The film begins when Katherine’s married to a much older man, the action a product of her father’s negotiated sale as coupled with an unfortunate piece of land. As she moves into his home, her new husband has no use for her presence and she spends her days abused by the staff and wandering, alone, from room to room.
The film veers in an unexpected direction in the second half. Is Katherine a victim of circumstance or is she the cause?
Lady Macbeth also stars Cosmo Jarvis and Naomi Ackie.
For more about Lady Macbeth, including the juxtaposition between Katherine’s wedding and what’s to come, take a look below: