Sunday, October 30, 2011
Sunday At the Movies
Matthew Goode ... Charles Ryder
Hayley Atwell ... Julia Flyte
Ben Whishaw ... Sebastian Flyte
Emma Thompson ... Lady Marchmain
Michael Gambon ... Lord Marchmain
Described as a poignant story of forbidden love and the loss of innocence set in England prior to the Second World War, Brideshead Revisited in the movie adaptation of the British television series that has had a strong following for years. I can see why so many were disappointed in the adaptation, because there is no way that all the nuances of an 11 episode series can be boiled down into two hours. With that being said, if you have never seen the series, I highly recommend the movie.
From first blush, it is a beautiful story, beautiful locations, beautiful costumes and exceptional acting.
Brideshead is not an easy story to tell. Told in a different light than the television version, the plotline tells of a triangular love story with a contemporary resonance. The 1920’s and 30’s were a different time, the Flyte family was all about class and tribalism and all decisions were made around their beliefs and way of behaving in a rich staunchly Catholic family. This family was raised to keep outsiders out and to keep their own secrets buried deep within one’s self.
Emma Thompson plays the family matriarch that only shows her children attention through her formal relationship with God. The only time that Julia and Sebastian spent time with her was either during church services, which were held in the family chapel or when they were discussing sins.
There is no way that that the children can live up to either their mothers standard or Gods, which leads to both of them having to hide their true selves and show that how a family conditions its children, by indoctrinating their relationship with God in such an austere way, will only result in destruction of their internal soul.
Brideshead is a character all its own. You cannot escape its draw. It is the one thing that Charles wanted, more than the people in it, but once there, he could not escape it. What is it about a place that will not let you leave?
Told through the eyes Charles you see all the beauty and damage within people and places.
A truly fascinating journey of tragic love, strong virtues and damaged people.