MY COUSIN RACHEL, starring the beautiful Sam Claflin and the disturbingly well-preserved Rachel Weisz, is one of those period pieces which is so full of questions that I wouldn't recommend it to viewers with a sensitive intelligent nature, or a weak stomach. The script and story make about as much sense as carpeting in the kitchen. (And why did the director have the actors mumble all of their lines as fast as possible? What are they trying not to tell us? How long is this film, anyway?)
Who is this hot young guy riding through the Cornish countryside on his stallion? (Has he been adopted by his never-again seen cousin, or merely fostered by him? What was the cousin's name again? Who are all those other people?) It seems to be set in the Victorian period, and Cousin has gone off to Florence and married a half-Italian woman. (Is she also somehow his cousin, and also somehow the cousin's young ward's cousin? Does this family tree even branch?) Mysterious letters arrive, detailing Cousin's imminent death from a mysterious Ailment (Could it be Poison, or maybe a malignant Tumor?)
The ward trots off to Italy to meet an Italian guy who was acquainted with Cousin (What was his name again? Who's the Italian guy, and has Rachel really just vanished? Does anyone know a good restaurant in these parts?) Florence glistens sweatily in the background, packed with orange roofs and sweltering heat. Answers elude our young buck.
Young ward becomes master of the estate (What do they do on the estate? Is it a sheep farm? Why do the dogs live in the house, but no people?) After much scrubbing of the dog house with the help of Louis, the neighbor girl, a black-clad Rachel arrives and goes straight to her room without the confrontation the young ward was anticipating. (Did she poison the Cousin? Is she adulterous? How many dresses did she pack for the visit?)
Seasons come and go, and widow Rachel alternates between gaily charming and sullenly petulant. (Can you really get away with wearing just one huge black dress for a year? Why is she living alone in the house with the young ward? Is she smuggling cash out of the country? Has that enormous turkey on the dining room table really been cooked long enough?)
And then, because, you know, time has passed, the young ward turns twenty-five and all of the estate becomes legally his at last!- but he goes to a stickler lawyer and creates a document giving it all to Rachel until she remarries. Ecstatic with love for the mysterious moody Rachel, idiot boy rushes to her room, has sex with her (well really) and gives Rachel the paper that turns everything over to her. (Was this really smart, considering that she may well have poisoned everyone's cousin? Has the dog made off with my good shoes?)
Is this the last stupid thing he does? Can Rachel be trusted? Is the sky blue? (Actually, it's a weird cyan color because they fucked up all the colors in post-production.) Young-Hot-And-Stupid soon shows signs of *gasp* poisoning! (Should he continue to drink this bitter tea, even after he sees Rachel sprinkling some mysterious powder in it? What about the tomato soup?) (And why, in a house so packed with chairs and sofas and divans, does he always fall on the floor when he swoons? Couldn't he have developed better aim?)
Things look desperate, and just then Rachel plummets off a cliff and the idiot boy married that other woman.
NOT for the faint of heart. (Although I must say, if this were simply a series of high definition images with music and no muttered dialogue, it would have been spectacular. Could we recut the film, and just make it a Victorian music video?)
My Cousin Rachel
Drama / Mystery / Romance
My Cousin Rachel
Drama / Mystery / Romance
Philip, an orphan, was taken in and brought up by his cousin Ambrose, a Devon landowner he loves like a father. At a time, Ambrose, who has been advised by his physician a warmer climate, leaves for Tuscany. There he meets and marry Rachel, a half-Italian cousin of his. After an idyllic outset, the situation deteriorates. Shortly before his death, Ambrose manages to alert Philip: his wife is killing him slowly. Willing to sort out the truth, Philip goes to Ambrose's place but he does not find Rachel, who has gone away. Instead he meets Rainaldi, her friend and lawyer, who does not inspire him with confidence. He returns to his estate, persuaded that Rachel is evil and is the direct cause of Ambrose's death. Some time later, Rachel announces her coming. Determined to welcome her coolly, he is stunned to discover a woman not only beautiful but elegant, intelligent and sensitive. Instead of strangling her like he said he would, he falls in love. Madly.
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August 19, 2017 at 05:18 AM