Search

My Cousin Rachel, review: ‘The house is stately and so is the pace’

PUBLISHED: 16:41 07 June 2017 | UPDATED: 16:51 07 June 2017

My Cousin Rachel. Picture: Nicola Dove

My Cousin Rachel. Picture: Nicola Dove

Archant

Roger Michell’s adaptation of this Daphne Du Maurier novel features a Sphinx like Rachel Weisz as a possible murderer but the pace is too stately to create suspense

The opening line poses a question: “Did she or didn’t she?”

It’s a very good question. Its variations – Is He or Isn’t He?/ Are They or Aren’t They?/ Was It or Wasn’t It? – have been the basis of many a fine entertainment. But there is an inherent problem with all these stories: somehow, you never really get a satisfactory answer.

In this adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier’s 1951 novel, the question is whether Rachel (Rachel Weisz) is a conniving merry widow who murdered her husband in Italy and is trying to seduce his heir Philip (Sam Clafin) into meekly handing over his estate to her, or is she genuinely in mourning.

Director Roger Michell has had a varied and often impressive career since Notting Hill, usually failing in his American project but making British films that seem thoroughly British, except in the way that they are uncommonly good. Here though he is rooted in the traditions of the costume drama.

He has written the adaption himself and has done a skillful job of it. The most difficult part surely was making Clafin’s meek acquiescence to Weisz’s charms seem credible. I’m not sure he quite succeeds but he does at least subtly imply that he is a man who is terrified of women and wary of anything he doesn’t know. Watch his look of disgust at the sight of two people talking Italian.

It is a very decent adaptation but there isn’t a whole lot here to fill the time. The house is stately, and so is the pace. Did she or didn’t she is a good question, but that is all it has got. A piece of evidence suggesting her guilt is presented before being rebutted by some evidence against with Weisz as a sphinx like presence in its centre, never letting down her guard.

After a while this balancing act of credibility becomes all a bit frugal and small scale and though the conclusion is much more than you’d expect, it doesn’t really seem like enough.

Go to Halfmanhalfcritic for reviews of The Mummy and the Arrow Blu-ray release of the restored version of Marlon Brando’s One-Eyed Jacks.

Rating: 3/5 stars

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hackney Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hackney Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hackney Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hackney Stories

53 minutes ago

Clapton coach Andre Thomas has left the club after landing the assistant manager’s job at Bostik North side Barking this week.

Dagenham & Redbridge visit Brisbane Road tonight to take part in fourth qualifying round replay

12:00

Former Newcastle United winger pleased with his current form, but insists a lot more is to come ahead of Real Madrid clash

10:30

Arsenal U23 delivered an efficient, if unspectacular performance, on Monday night to see off Sunderland U23 2-0 at Emirates Stadium.

45 minutes ago

Campaigners have defeated Sainsbury’s in a David-versus-Goliath battle over a new store in Blackstock Road.

10:00

Daggers and O’s to meet again at Brisbane Road on Tuesday night

Premier League 2: Arsenal under-23s 2 Sunderland under-23s 0

42 minutes ago

A structural engineering company has won a prestigious award for its strong track-record of employing apprentices.



Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read entertainment

Show Job Lists