In this twisted tale of love, loss and obsession, a young man set to inherit a fortune seems to be under the spell of a woman who isn’t all she seems—but the question is, can she be trusted; or is someone else the real manipulator?
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Raised by his cousin after the early death of his parents, Philip (Sam Clafin) is shocked to discover that his cousin’s death may have been caused by his new bride.
He finally meets his cousin’s widow, Rachel (Rachel Weisz); and instead of the wicked stepmother he’d envisaged, he is struck by her beauty. An immediate infatuation occurs, and with his 25th birthday approaching—when he is set to inherit a fortune—Philip seems determined to do all he can to shower his cousin’s wife with the benefits of the inheritance he—irrationally—feels rightly belongs to her.
At first Rachel seems willing to accept Philip’s affections, but the closer they get, the more those close to him suspect she is deceiving him. Can he trust her? And does she even want him to?
My Cousin Rachel feels like a film that falls short of its potential. The cast is excellent and the performances solid, yet there’s a lack of clarity in the plotting that leaves the audience slightly askew.
The naiveté of Philip in the face of mounting evidence seems implausible, and the possible meddling of the women whom he has scorned in favour of his cousin’s bride isn’t entirely explained. Could this young man really be so entranced as to be so flippant with all he has left of his much beloved family? I’m not convinced.
While history has given us many a stupid man willing to be reckless in the chase of lust (loosely veiled, like the titular character, as love), I was hoping for so much more from Philip, and indeed this Daphne du Maurier adaptation. Having not seen the Richard Burton film, I cannot assess how it compares, but given my undiluted love of this director’s previous work in Notting Hill, I also cannot help but feel disappointed.
What was billed as a suspenseful, incestuous Austen-era thriller, delivered a tepid infatuation in the form of a more likely spate of madness. Not only does Philip give up the gorgeous young Louise for his cousin’s widow, he also gives up the buzz and intellectual society of London for a rundown family farm.
Sadly, when it comes to the remake of My Cousin Rachel, I felt the preview was better than the full feature.
Director: Roger Michell
Stars: Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin
Runtime: 1hour 46 mins
Release Date: June 7
Reviewer Rating: 3/5
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