Brideshead Revisited

Brideshead Revisited

(2008)

Based on the novel by Evelyn Waugh, and made popular by the 1980 TV series, Brideshead Revisited tells the memoirs of Captain Charles Ryder (Matthew Goode), a man who becomes entranced by the provocative and charming Sebastian Flyte (Ben Wishaw) and later with his sister Julia (Hayley Atwell). The rise and fall of his infatuations takes place against the backdrop of the Brideshead Estate, under the watchful eye of their mother, Lady Marchmain (Emma Thompson).

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Flicks Review

Sounds like a horror movie doesn't it? But no, it's the latest British produced period drama, only this time sans Keira Knightley. Based on Evelyn Waugh's classic novel, it's the memoirs of Charles Ryder and his tale of love and innocence lost through dealings with the aristocratic family who own the Brideshead estate. Set between the two world wars, it's designed as an epic romance and lives up to half of that description while being less successful with the other.

Like all high-class historical dramas, the formal aspects of production are absolutely swank, in a very refined way of course. The sets and costumes are meticulously recreated and give the story a sense of realism that grounds the melodramatic elements. Tastefully picking this out is cinematography of the old fashioned, classical style. It makes for a lavish spectacle on the big screen. It would make a great enhancement to a more compelling story, but unfortunately it doesn't have that to work with.

What's really missing from this period romance isn't a well-constructed sense of time and place; it's an engaging central romance. Charles (Matthew Goode) and his big crush Julia (Hayley Atwell) never really get across a simmering passion beneath rigid social conventions, which is a hallmark of elite examples of this cinematic style. Technically, their individual performances are hard to fault but they never create a dynamic together that engineers a deeper emotional involvement. The two most interesting characters, and convincing performances, come from self- destructive homosexual Sebastian (Ben Whishaw) and the predictably excellent Emma Thompson as the iron-willed matriarch. It's a pity these two are only supporting characters, as the moments they are phased out seem to coincide with the story losing steam.

The recent run of quality Keira Knightley featured productions have raised the bar for other period pieces. Brideshead Revisited can barely clamber over it.

Reviewed by Andreas Heinemann.

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 5 ratings, 5 reviews
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A feature film attempting to cover the sub plots a plenty is very courageous.
I forget how many episodes in the TV adaptation.
The "men only affair" was passed over very quickly.
Charles Ryders love for Brideshead was almost paramount previously.
His passion for Julia and complications being homosexual barely addressed.
The religious connection or for Charles not being connected sealed the deal for me. An astonishing achievement . And yes i will return for a 2nd viewing.


Based on the novel by Evelyn Waugh, and made popular by the 1980 TV series, Brideshead Revisited tells the memoirs of Captain Charles Ryder (Matthew Goode), a man who becomes entranced by the provocative and charming Sebastian Flyte (Ben Wishaw) and later with his sister Julia (Hayley Atwell). The rise and fall of his infatuations takes place against the backdrop of the Brideshead Estate, under the watchful eye of their mother, Lady Marchmain (Emma Thompson).


BY Brian1 superstar

Acting and directing was godd, the story, if you like good old fashioned love stories was ok.
Couldnt say I was captivated, but it was enjoyable.


One or two good moments-dont think its worth seeing at a cinema though


ok

Some great acting,keeps you guessing after the movie as to the whole nature of friendship between the main actors


The Press Reviews

63% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • The film's strengths are in Waugh's story and not so much in the particular spin of these filmmakers. Their decision to turn up the volume on the homosexual undertones between Sebastian and Charles feels like an unimaginative nod to our modern times. Full Review

  • Mr. Goode shows all the charisma of a stalk of boiled asparagus molded into the likeness of Jeremy Irons. Full Review

  • A second tilt at Waugh's classic attempts to be this year's Atonement but misses. Full Review

  • Whether the action is unspooling across Oxford or Venice or Morocco or on an ocean liner or in a gallery, nothing good or bad happens without a week's worth of art direction. Doric arches, ivy-grown walls, baize doors, gilt cornices, plastered vaults: No expense has been spared, and no BBC lover has been alienated. Full Review

  • Features some very good performances but few characters you would want to be in the same room with for more than five minutes - unless, of course, you were on your deathbed and in fear for your mortal soul. Full Review

  • The locations are all splendid and it is easy to understand how the lure of the lifestyle above him is a magnet to Charles. In the end we feel a bit like Charles, totally worn down, which may well have been the intentions of the filmmaker. Full Review

  • Offers lush and compelling drama drawn from Evelyn Waugh's beloved novel. Purists may blanch at the screenplay's changes to the source material's narrative fine points, but its spirit survives intact. Full Review