Just returned from seeing Brideshead, Revisted. Such a lusciously beautiful film (though, not without fault)
Several Austen alumni turned up, and as we all know, it’s always wonderful seeing old friends again.
Naturally, I must mention Emma Thompson (S&S) as Lady Marchmain. She is one of my favorite actors, but I felt Lady Marchmain wasn’t her part: she didn’t own it. Or perhaps the dialog she was given (written by Andrew Davies) wasn’t up to all that it could be. I like it when Emma’s lines are precise and cuts to the quick (i.e. Howards Ends) not when it all wonky and hard to understand (i.e. Harry Potter) Lady Marchmain was somewhere in the middle. She just seemed tired in some of her scenes to me and wasn’t the dominant presence her character needed to be.
Sebastian (Ben Whishaw) started off very strong, but towards the middle of the film, I had grown tired of him, his character’s drunkeness, and his great big sad eyes.
Lady Julia and Charles Ryder where perfectly cast. (Hayley Atwell & Matthew Goode) Matthew, I think, has true heart-throb potential written all over him. There were scenes when I became so lost in his eyes… (his eyes, Louisa!) the camera just loved him. We need to see him in an Austen adaptation, and soon! Not quite Darcy material, but in a few years he would be a wonderful Knightley or Brandon!!! (I’m leaning towards Brandon).
My absolute favorite actor in this film was Patrick Malahide (Edward Ryder) who stole every scene he was in. Funny. So very funny… in a Mr Bennet sort of way. The audience I saw the film with just loved him and laughed heartily and appreciatively at every sarcastic remark.
The film also features Michael Gambon as Lord Marchmain. (I don’t know why I keep wanting to call him Lord Brightlingsea) Gambon, who is in just about everything now days, never really varies his performance in any of his roles. If you would have put a beard on him I would have said, “Oh look, it Dumbledore.”
The charming Felicity Jones (Catherine Morland from NA) has a somewhat smallish part. She was wasted, in my opinion, as she is a much better actor than what the role called for. If she could play the lead in Northanger Abbey, then surely she could get offered much meatier roles and not have to play some silly, teenaged girl.
I give Brideshead, Revisited **** stars out of a possible *****. The costumes and the locations: all divine! The cinematography, outstanding. It’s sure to garner plenty of Oscar attention.