Release Year: 2008
Director: Julian Jarrold
Writers: Andrew Davies (screenplay), Jeremy Brock (screenplay), Evelyn Waugh (based on his 1945 novel Brideshead Revisited, The Sacred & Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder)
Starring: Matthew Goode, Ben Whishaw, Emma Thompson, Hayley Atwell, Michael Gambon, Ed Stoppard, Anna Madeley, Felicity Jones, Greta Scacchi, Patrick Malahide, Richard Teverson, Joseph Beattie, Jonathan Cake
A middle-aged Charles Ryder (Matthew Goode) reminisces about his turbulent relationship with the devoutly Catholic Flyte Family and a lost era of English nobility as he returns to the family’s house Brideshead during World War II.
The idea of comprising a beloved novel that has already spawned a equally beloved 10 hour BBC minseries adaptation into a two-hour-film is mind boggling. Needless to say, the result is uneven, but more disappointingly the film seems to miss the point of the novel. It lacks the subtlety and ambiguity of Evelyn Waugh’s source novel and stumbles through its various themes as a result of much too broad strokes. The casting is fine, but not impressive; even Emma Thompson does not live up to expectations as her character is only allowed to show one colour for a long period of time and only glimpses of something beyond that. However, the film is wonderfully produced and to the uninitiated is probably simply a good period piece, although with a heavy slant towards a sin-centered version of Catholicism. Whishaw’s (Perfume – The Story of a Murderer, 2006) Sebastian and Goode’s (The Imitation Game, 2014) Charles make a good pair, but even when the film works best, it fails to come truly alive. Beautiful but flawed, Brideshead Revisited are recommended to fans of period films.
David Yates was originally set to direct the film but stepped aside in order to direct Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007). In his version, Paul Bettany, Jennifer Connelly, and Jude Law were set to star as Charles, Julia, and Sebastian respectively.
Picture Copyright: SF Film