Director: Julian Jarrold (Kinky Boots, Becoming Jane)
Writers: Jeremy Brock, Andrew Davies
Producers: Robert Bernstein, Kevin Loader, Douglas Rae
Starring: Matthew Goode, Ben Whishaw, Hayley Atwell, Emma Thompson, Michael Gambon
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 135 min
There is a certain amount of expectation that comes attached to a work adapted for film from a novel as prestigious as Evelyn Waugh’s “Brideshead Revisited”. Things are even trickier when the book has already been transferred, to much acclaim, to the small screen starring Jeremy Irons in the lead role. Few novels can survive multiple treatments but Austen has done just fine and though I’ve never seen the mini-series, Brideshead Revisited is just as successful.
Adapted from the novel by the multiple award winning writing team of Jeremy Brock and Andrew Davies, the film is a recounting of the memoirs of Captain Charles Ryder, a painter whose life becomes intertwined with that of the aristocratic Marchmain family when he meets Sebastian Marchmain at school. Sebastian and Charles become good friends, though it’s clear from early on that Sebastian is interested in more than just friendship, but things get complicated when Charles is invited to Brideshead, the Marchmain’s ancestral home, for the summer. While there, Charles falls in love with Sebastian’s sister Julia and becomes acquainted with the family matriarch, the cold Lady Marchmain and from that point on, his life becomes forever connected with that of the Marchmain’s. That is the bones of the plot that hold up Brideshead Revisited but as with any great film, it’s the meat on those bones that makes it unforgettable.
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