It was before World War II broke out…
Charles Ryder (Matthew Goode) is by no means poor, but he is definitely not rich and he is not coming from a significant family. He has a rather cold and restrained relationship with his father.
His uneventful life however changes forever when he starts his first year at Oxford University and meets the colorful Sebastian (Ben Whishaw). Sebastian is a lot more intriguing than Charles’s own cousin, who calls Sebastian and his gang sodomites. And he is not technically wrong as Sebastian is openly gay and feminine. Charles enjoys his company and falls in love with Sebastian’s extraordinary family mansion and living quarters called Brideshead.
Charles spends a wonderful time with Sebastian although he is not exactly sure why Sebastian wants to keep Charles away from his mother and sister. It has a lot to do with his mother (Emma Thompson) being a strict Catholic who loves to control her children and make them feel guilty. Sebastian likes his sister Julia (Haley Atwell)though. She also seems to be rebellious like him. Things get increasingly complicated when Charles finds himself intensely drawn to the sister and Sebastian notices this. Charles’ growing feelings for her will endanger his relationship with the entire family, especially the mother. She was OK with him hanging around when he seemed like the grounded friend who would keep her son from trouble. Unfortunately, being an atheist artist with no resources, he is not someone she’d ever allow her daughter to be with.
Can Charles salvage his friendship with Sebastian, manage to be with … despite the mother? Or does Charles even know for sure what he is and what he wants? The same can be asked about Julia as well…
Brideshead Revisited is a period drama adapted from the novel of the same name. It starts as beautiful and engaging period drama but as the movie goes on, the story loses a lot of momentum. Ben Whishaw’s Sebstian has just too many clichés, none of the characters seem to know who they are apart from Emma Thompson’s character and unfortunately her character is the most boring and depressing at all. I love the first couple of scenes of the film and how things start but the movie starts to drag, especially after the scenes in Venice. By the time Charles gets to be with Julia, it was already more than 1,5 hours into the money and apart from their “big reunion”, their relationship is just plain boring.
I am not a Catholic, and I am not an atheist. Maybe I have the tendency to be an agnostic and so I rarely ever cared about the guilt trips of the siblings, and their bleak existence. Matthew Goode’s character was alright up to the point, but there is so much you can care about a lead who centers his life around 2 people, who let their lives run by their mom.
Nonetheless, it is an opportunity for Matthew Goode and Ben Whishaw fans as the movie last longer than 2 hours.
The story, though, is just not as magnificent as its cast or the Brideshead house. It is not romantic enough, sexy enough or interesting enough- and this is coming from a girl who likes period dramas and Matthew Goode.
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