Surely a film with such immense talent helming it - Academy-Award winners and nominees both behind and in-front of the camera - should be one to remember? Well, Serena proves that's not the case.

Set in North Carolina, in 1929, Hollywood gem Jennifer Lawrence is our eponymous lead as, well, Serena. Married to her regular collaborator, another big name in Hollywood, Bradley Cooper's - not in raccoon form, unfortunately - George Pemberton the two have a meticulous relationship and a striving timber empire. However, politics and ethics run into a dark realm as we watch the Wall Street crash and how the effects off it spiral uncontrollably leaving their empire in a precious state.

Wanting to get more involved, not wanting to be seen as just a trophy wife, Serena begins to take matters into her own hands and starts pushing out George's right-hand man, Buchanan (David Dencik) but as the power gets to her head she takes a dark turn. Meanwhile, Toby Jones' Sherriff McDowell is getting ready to make his move and strike Serena, George and their success.

Honestly, it's a very interesting premise and one that had the potential to do very well, when given the Hollywood treatment. However, Serena just doesn't manage to translate effectively to the big screen. Serena is a gritty, dark character and could've made for a fun, out of control role to watch - she's almost like a female version of Louis Bloom, from this year's Nightcrawler - and it should make for a memorable piece of cinema. Unfortunately, could and should don't do much. It's a poorly handled film that hits flat and, in the end, is very disposable and forgettable. 

That's not to say the acting is crap. No, it's not. It's actually the best thing about the film. As always, Lawrence stuns! She's a very fine Serena indeed and manages to deliver a solid performance as this strong-willed, enigmatic character. It's just ashame that the role didn't do her talents justice. Her partner-in-crime, Mr. Cooper, also brings some strong acting to the table too but, again, that was expected. There's just no charisma and development with our protagonists which, honestly, is a shame. It really makes it hard to like and connect to either of these characters.

However, unlike we've seen with the pair, there's no chemistry between them. Of course, in a film like this - where the whole story is helmed by relationships and character - it should be strong. It's just not there and this is damaging to the outcome of the whole film. As good as Lawrence and Cooper are individually, there's no substance when they come together. 

Their marriage and character development is rushed and handled atrociously. We're just not given the time to emotionally attach to them and, thus, don't become invested in their relationship. So, when the finale hits it should supposedly stir us deeply but we simply don't care about anyone and are just too bored by the tedious proceedings to actually feel anything.

Serena is long, tiring and boring. With such ace talent you'd think the film dazzles rather than frazzles but, since there's just no substance it doesn't.

Points for trying though?
★★☆☆☆

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About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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