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Serena (2014)

1004 votes, average 5.6 out of 10

Serena (2014) – A Tale of Ambition, Power, and Tragedy


“Serena,” directed by Susanne Bier, is a 2014 period drama that delves into the complexities of ambition, power, and love. Starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, the film is based on the novel of the same name by Ron Rash. Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, “Serena” explores the rise and fall of a timber empire and the tumultuous relationship at its core.

Plot Summary

The film follows George Pemberton (Bradley Cooper), a timber magnate who is struggling to maintain his business during the economic hardships of the 1930s. George meets and marries the beautiful and enigmatic Serena (Jennifer Lawrence), a woman with a fierce spirit and a ruthless drive to succeed. Serena quickly proves herself to be an equal partner in the business, demonstrating a keen understanding of the timber industry and an unyielding determination to expand their empire.

As the Pembertons work to grow their timber operations, they face increasing challenges from environmentalists and competitors. Serena’s ambition and George’s desire to prove himself lead them down a path of moral compromise and ruthless decisions. Their relationship becomes strained as Serena’s obsession with power and control intensifies, leading to jealousy, betrayal, and ultimately, tragedy.

Serena’s inability to conceive a child becomes a central conflict, driving a wedge between her and George, especially when she discovers that George has an illegitimate son with another woman. As their empire begins to crumble, so does their relationship, culminating in a dramatic and heartbreaking conclusion.

Performance and Direction

Jennifer Lawrence delivers a powerful performance as Serena, capturing the character’s complexity, ambition, and eventual descent into madness. Lawrence’s portrayal is both captivating and chilling, highlighting Serena’s transformation from a supportive partner to a domineering and obsessive figure. Bradley Cooper brings depth to the role of George, effectively conveying his internal struggle between love, ambition, and guilt. The chemistry between Lawrence and Cooper, previously seen in “Silver Linings Playbook,” adds a compelling dynamic to their characters’ relationship.

Susanne Bier’s direction is meticulous, creating a visually stunning and atmospheric film. The pacing of the story allows for the gradual build-up of tension and the exploration of the characters’ motivations and conflicts. Bier’s focus on the natural beauty and harshness of the North Carolina mountains provides a stark contrast to the Pembertons’ destructive ambitions.

Visual and Special Effects

The film’s cinematography, by Morten Søborg, is one of its strongest elements. The lush landscapes and detailed period settings create an immersive and visually arresting experience. The timber industry scenes are particularly well-executed, showcasing the labor and dangers involved in the business.

The production design and costumes effectively capture the era, adding authenticity to the film’s depiction of the Great Depression. Special effects are used sparingly, with the focus remaining on the characters and their interactions rather than on spectacle.

Themes and Analysis

“Serena” explores themes of ambition, power, and the destructive nature of greed. The film examines how the pursuit of success can lead to moral corruption and the loss of humanity. Serena’s character embodies the dangers of unchecked ambition, as her desire for control ultimately leads to her downfall.

The film also delves into the complexities of love and loyalty. The relationship between George and Serena is marked by passion and mutual ambition, but their individual desires and secrets create a rift that cannot be mended. The impact of Serena’s inability to conceive a child on their relationship highlights the societal pressures and personal struggles faced by women during that era.

Streaming and Availability

“Serena,” the film is available for streaming on several platforms in the United States. You can watch it on Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. Additionally, it is available for rent or purchase on Google Play, Vudu, and Apple TV.


“Serena” is a visually stunning and emotionally charged period drama that offers a deep exploration of ambition, power, and the complexities of human relationships. With strong performances from Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper and meticulous direction by Susanne Bier, the film provides a compelling and tragic narrative. Whether you’re a fan of historical dramas or character-driven stories, “Serena” delivers a powerful and thought-provoking experience.

Posted on:
Tagline:Some loves can never let go.
Genre: Drama
Duration: 102 Min
Budget:$ 30.000.000,00
Revenue:$ 5.092.129,00

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