Charles Ryder (Matthew Goode), a young man of modest means but considerable ambition, has just begun his studies at Oxford University, when he encounters flamboyant aristocrat and fellow student Sebastian Flyte (Ben Whishaw). Infatuated with his new friend’s hedonistic lifestlye, Charles eagerly accompanies him to the family’s opulent mansion, Brideshead, where he becomes entranced by the eccentric clan and the palatial 18th century estate. But when Charles falls for Sebastian’s beautiful sister Julia (Hayley Atwell), his friend reacts with jealousy and the siblings’ domineering mother, Lady Marchmain (Emma Thompson), rules out the possibility of marriage for reasons of class and religion. As Charles becomes further involved with the Marchmain family, he realizes that at Brideshead, everything comes at a price.
Brideshead Revisited, inspired by the best-selling novel by Evelyn Waugh, is a vivid and intoxicating drama of forbidden love, lust, deception, and power. The story unfolds as a flashback, as Charles Ryder (Matthew Goode) is stationed at Brideshead Castle during WWII. He remembers his time spent at Brideshead and the life he so desperately wanted to live. Years before, a young and ever-so charming aristocrat, Sebastian, invites Charles to his family’s estate where he soon becomes lured in and seduced by a lifestyle that is drastically different than his own. After falling for Sebastian’s sister Julia, Charles finds himself being pushed away from the family rather abruptly as the pressures of religion and Charles’ background become an issue. Charles soon learns that all that has entranced him at Brideshead doesn’t come without a price. As quickly as he was welcomed in, he soon finds himself picking up the pieces of his life and his heart.
You might not recognize a lot of the cast with the exception of the beautiful and talented Emma Thompson who gives a stunning performance as usual, but the three main characters give quite exquisite performances as well. I especially enjoyed Matthew Goode in the lead role of Charles Ryder who does a wonderful job at conveying intense emotion through just one glance. The sets were probably my favorite part of this film. The first time the viewer sees Brideshead on the screen, they can’t help but to be floored. It is absolutely exquisite, and the interior sets won’t leave you disappointed either.
As far as special features, this release includes deleted scenes, filmaker’s audio commentary, and a featurette on “The World Of Brideshead”. Definitely worth checking out if you missed this one in the theater!
Review by Emma Loggins