THE BEAST – Review by Ann Lewinson

It’s not every day that a turn-of-the-century tale gets a gender-swap, but that’s what Bertrand Bonello and his co-screenwriters Guillaume Bréaud and Benjamin Charbit
have done in The Beast, based on Henry James’ The Beast in the Jungle. In James’ novella, man-about-town John Marcher worries that a terrible catastrophe will befall him (the titular beast), and embarks on a decade-long platonic relationship with the wealthy May Bartram, which almost singularly consists of going to the opera and speculating on the nature of what may befall him. May falls in unrequited love with John, who is often read as a stand-in for the author, a closeted homosexual who is believed to have never had sex with anyone.

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