Rebecca on Netflix explained as Lily James’ heroine haunted by husband’s dead wife

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We could all do with a new sumptuous Netflix film to get cosy with in this increasingly bleak Autumn months.

Now the streaming giant has released a new romantic thriller with some Gothic undertones in the form of new film Rebecca.

The cast of the glossy period drama features former Downton Abbey star Lily James, The Social Network's Armie Hammer, and Four Weddings and a Funeral icon Kristin Scott Thomas.

Having already begun a limited release in cinemas, Rebecca is now out to watch on Netflix, which means we can sink our teeth into the drama it has on offer.

However, what is exactly is Rebecca based on and who has made the new film?

Here's everything you need to know.

What is Rebecca based on? Is it based on a true story?

The new film is based on the classic 1938 Gothic novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier.

Lily James stars in Netflix's adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca
(Image: KERRY BROWN/NETFLIX)

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It is fictional but Daphne had a similar experience to Rebecca's heroine in that she once found letters between her husband Tommy Browning and his former fiancée, Jan Ricardo, which drove a wedge between them.

The book was subsequently adapted by du Maurier herself into a play in 1939 before being made into a 1940 film by legendary director Alfred Hitchcock.

This film starred Joan Fontaine as Mrs de Winter, Laurence Olivier as Maxim de Winter, and Judith Anderson as Mrs Danvers.

Hitchcock's Rebecca went on to win Best Picture at the 1941 Academy Awards.

It has subsequently been adapted for television on multiple occasions before this latest Netflix version.

Who is directing Rebecca on Netflix?

The new version of Rebecca is from British director Ben Wheatley.

He has previously delivered critically acclaimed thrillers Kill List and A Field in England, dystopian cult film High Rise, and action comedy Free Fire.

Ben's previous film before Rebecca was festive (kind of) BBC comedy-drama Happy New Year, Colin Burstead.

Who stars in Rebecca on Netflix?

Mamma Mia Here We Go Again! star Lily James plays a young woman who becomes the new Mrs de Winter when she meets and falls in love with Maxim de Winter when working on the French Riviera.

Maxim is played by Oscar-nominated Call Me By Your Name star Armie Hammer in the new film.

Lily James stars opposite Armie Hammer in the new film
(Image: KERRY BROWN/NETFLIX)

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Meanwhile, British-French thespian Kristin Scott Thomas takes on the iconic role of Maxim's twisted housekeeper Mrs Danvers who runs the household at his home of Manderlay.

Maleficent star Sam Riley plays Jack Favell, a face from Manderlay's past, while Bodyguard actress Keeley Hawes portrays Maxim's kind married sister, Beatrice Lacy.

The Handmaid's Tale actress Ann Dowd portrays Mrs. Van Hopper, Mrs de Winter's employer at the start of the film.

What is the plot of Rebecca?

Rebecca follows a young middle class heroine who arrives on the French Riviera to work as a personal assistant to Mrs. Van Hopper.

While staying in a luxurious hotel, she meets the handsome and very rich Maxim de Winter with whom she embarks on an unlikely but passionate romance with.

Rebecca: (L to R) Kristin Scott Thomas as Mrs. Danvers, Lily James as Mrs. de Winter.
(Image: KERRY BROWN/NETFLIX)

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As the new couple return to England and Maxim's grand home of Manderlay, however, the new Mrs de Winter finds her marriage and existence haunted by the presence of Maxim's dead wife, Rebecca.

The memory of the late Rebecca is also being kept alive by the scheming and unsettling housekeeper, Mrs Danvers.

Have they made any changes from the novel?

The obvious changes from the novel Rebecca in the new film are the ages of its lead romantic couple.

In the novel, the new Mrs de Winter is in her 20s but Lily James is 31, while Maxim is 42 but Armie Hammer is 34.

Wheatley explained to Kermode & Mayo's Film Review podcast: "The main change is that Lily James is not as young as the character in is in the book…She can play naive, but I didn't feel like I wanted to watch another film about an old man and a young woman…I felt that the actual power dynamic between them could still happen without having to play that age card."

Kristin Scott Thomas' Mrs Danvers gets fleshed out a little more here
(Image: Kerry Brown / Netflix)

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The new film also spends more time with the character of Mrs Danvers to explain her obsessive relationship with the deceased Rebecca.

Finally, the end of Mrs Danvers' story is an entirely new addition on Wheatley's part, as is the final scene and monologue from Lily James' heroine, which gives a clearer conclusion to the story than the more ambiguous novel.

What are critics saying about Rebecca?

It looks like the new adaptation of Rebecca is dividing opinion as it is rated at 53% on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, meaning it has been rated 'Rotten".

The new Rebecca film has divided critics but what do you think?
(Image: KERRY BROWN/NETFLIX)

The critics' consensus reads: "Ben Wheatley's Rebecca remake is ravishing to behold, but it never quite gets to the heart of the classic source material — or truly justifies its own existence."

For our review of Rebecca, see here.

Rebecca is available now on Netflix.

Will you be watching Rebecca on Netflix? Let us know in the comments below.

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