The latest adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s mystery novel is an engrossing watch that takes a strong hold of your emotions, and toys with them at every opportunity.
Featuring terrific performances from Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Iain Glen, and Holliday Grainger, the film tells the story of Philip, a young man who becomes enamoured with his older cousin Rachel, who may or may not have caused the death of his guardian and cousin.
Director Roger Michell (Morning Glory) puts his best foot forward here, bringing out nuanced performances from a talented cast, and treating every frame as an opportunity to stun. Just as Weisz delicately ensures her character walk the line between guilty and misunderstood, Michell reveals just the right amount of each possible reality to keep us holding on.
Weisz’s performance cannot be commended enough. Rachel Ashley is a character you’ll find yourself quickly making your mind up about, before it all falls apart thanks to one look, or a simple exchange of words. Did she do it? Or is she simply stuck in the wrong time and a victim of sexism and gossip? Weisz’s captivating performance makes damn sure you never find out the truth.
Equally, Sam Claflin is a wonder to behold as the infuriatingly naive and rash Philip, who goes from an angry young man to an infatuated little boy, and again to confused and enraged. Weisz masterful performance may have been the key to the film’s plot working, but without an actor of Claflin’s calibre playing the fool so well, My Cousin Rachel could have fallen into murky waters.
It’s been a few days now and I’m still thinking about every pivotal moment and potential clue to the titular character’s guilt or innocence. My Cousin Rachel has certainly left a mark…a haunting one at that.
Image: 20th Century Fox