Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Film Review: "My Cousin Rachel" (2017).





"Did she? Didn't she? Who was to blame?"
This is My Cousin Rachel. This American-British romantic drama film, written and directed by Roger Michell, based upon the 1951 novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier. The film centres on a young Englishman who plots revenge against his late cousin's mysterious, beautiful wife, believing her responsible for his death. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.

The film is the latest of several recent adaptations of Daphne du Maurier's work. This is the first cinematic adaptation of My Cousin Rachel since the 1952 film of the same name. When it came to the first cinematic adaption, Twentieth Century-Fox brought the rights to the story in September 1951 when every major studio in Hollywood rejected it. Fox also secured George Cukor as director. However, du Maurier and Cukor reviewed a screenplay draft and found it unfaithful to the novel, with du Maurier declaring it "Quite desperate." Cukor also disapproved of the comedic additions, and without achieving his desired revisions to the screenplay, opted to quit. Henry Koster later took over Cukor's role. According to Burton, Cukor planned for either Greta Garbo or Vivien Leigh to star as Rachel. The part ultimately went to de Havilland, marking her first film role since The Heiress (1949), as she had afterwards taken stage roles. The film also marked Richard Burton's first time starring in a U.S. film. Though uninterested in the novel or screenplay, Burton accepted the role due to his respect for Cukor, and he traveled to New York City for production. Background shots were filmed in Cornwall, where the story is set. The film went to become a success upon its initial release.

In January 2015, Fox Searchlight secured Roger Michell to direct the film and write the screenplay. In September 2015, it was announced Rachel Weisz was in talks to star in the film. She took the role, and envisioned the character as "sexually liberated". That same month, Sam Claflin joined the cast, stating he was interested because Philip was an ordinary, immature character, who was virginal until discovering Rachel. In February 2016, Holliday Grainger joined the cast, followed by Iain Glen in March. Principal photography began in April 2016, and lasted through the spring in South Devon, Oxfordshire and Surrey, England, and Arezzo, Italy. 

The film stars Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Iain Glen and Holliday Grainger. The cast gave intense and excellent performances. As to Ms. Weisz herself, she gave a rather ambigious performance. Throughout the film, you wonder if she is who she says she is, which was a tremendous feat.

Thanks to the suspense, atmosphere and the performance given by Rachel Weisz, My Cousin Rachel is simply excellent. Weisz's performance, as well as Claflin's, gave a strong impression while watching the film unfold, and long after you have left the cinema. Weisz was just simply brilliant as the title character.

Simon says My Cousin Rachel receives:


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