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Film Review: My Cousin Rachel

13:33 June 08, 2017
By: David Vicari

Take a break from the digital mayhem of aliens, pirates, robots and mummies and check out the well-crafted psychological drama My Cousin Rachel.

In this period mystery, young Englishman Philip (Sam Claflin) swears revenge on the cousin who he strongly feels murdered his guardian. When the cousin, Rachel (Rachel Weisz), comes to stay at Philip's newly inherited country estate, his attitude changes and he because instantly infatuated with her. However, Philip's godfather, Nick (Iain Glen), and his daughter, Louise (Holliday Grainger), both feel Rachel is up to no good.

My Cousin Rachel is based on the novel by Daphne Du Maurier (The Birds, Rebecca) and has been filmed several times before, most notably in 1952 starring Olivia de Havilland and Richard Burton. This new version, by underrated filmmaker Roger Michell (Changing Lanes, Morning Glory, Notting Hill), is a great exercise in building tension, thanks, in no small part, to a perfectly enigmatic performance by Weisz. You'll drive yourself crazy trying to figure out this character's true intentions. The film is also great to look at with some truly haunting and beautifully composed shots, courtesy of cinematographer Mike Eley. My only complaint is that the ending feels a bit rushed.

Ambiguity is a virtue in My Cousin Rachel. It will have audiences debating as to what they think was really going on in the film. 

*** ½ out of four

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