Sofia Coppola’s first feature since 2013’s The Bling Ring is almost here: The Beguiled is based on Thomas Cullinan’s 1969 novel A Painted Devil and turns back the clock to Civil War–era Virginia, where a secluded women’s boarding school is thrown into chaos after a lonely Union soldier (played by Colin Farrell) makes an untimely appearance. Clint Eastwood starred in a previous cinematic adaptation back in 1971, but it’s safe to say that Coppola’s aesthetic vision appears to stand on its own.
The Oscar-winning filmmaker has gathered quite the cast around Farrell, including Nicole Kidman as the school’s headmistress, Kirsten Dunst as a teacher, and Elle Fanning as a student—all of whom begin developing romantic feelings upon Farrell’s arrival. But the real star here is Philippe Le Sourd’s dreamy cinematography, with his images unfurling to create a hauntingly Gothic sense of time and place alongside Coppola’s simmering erotic tension.
“It’s just trying to create that atmosphere, so you can feel these long, hot days when not much is happening,” Coppola told Entertainment Weekly, of her approach. “I liked that [the costumes] had been washed a million times and left out in the sun. It just felt very feminine, almost like they were ghosts left behind.”
The Beguiled will be released in select theaters on June 23.