Brideshead Revisited

120 min. minutes | Rated PG-13

Director Julian Jarrold was last responsible for the nauseating Becoming Jane, and at first, it looks as though he's going to handle Brideshead just as clumsily. This film, like Evelyn Waugh's book, is told from the perspective of Charles Ryder (slightly-too-old Matthew Goode), an upper-middle class striver completely out of his depth--but the filmmakers don't do enough to remind us that Charles is our narrator. The voiceovers are scarce, the cinematography (by Jess Hall) is square and pompous when it should be dazzling, and the score (by Adrian Johnston) thunders when it should be stricken with awe. Still, the acting is more nuanced than the screenplay for Becoming Jane ever allowed. Soon we're sucked in to the life of poor, desirous Charles, who goes up to Oxford to read history and finds himself fraternizing with a flaming creature named Sebastian Flyte (Ben Whishaw), whose idea of fun is snacking on plover eggs gathered by hand at his ancestral home; lecturing his teddy bear, Aloysius; and getting roaring drunk before noon. Unfortunately, the film doesn't linger at Oxford for long, and the remaining point on the love triangle--Sebastian's sister, Julia (Hayley Atwell)--is always present, but only fleetingly interesting.

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Film Credits
Director
Julian Jarrold
Cast
Emma Thompson, Michael Gambon, Matthew Goode, Ben Whishaw, Greta Scacchi, Hayley Atwell, Felicity Jones, Patrick Malahide, Joseph Beattie, Stephane Cornicard