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Brideshead …. re Revisited

August 10, 2008

Went to see Brideshead Revisited … the movie … at the Cape Playhouse in Dennis, Massachusetts this week.

It was the perfect eccentric place to watch a perfect eccentric movie. Of course, we are all going to compare the movie not so much with Evelyn Waugh’s novel, but with the earlier TV miniseries. Sad, really.

The movie held up well, though, and in many ways was more faithful to Waugh’s original intention for the book. It is NOT, repeat NOT, a love story. It is about faith and redemption.

While it is set in pre-war Britain in an upper class family, it forces all of us to do some introspection, to look into not just our hearts, but our souls, to see what depths are or aren’t there.

Of course, there is a great temptation to compare this movie with the brilliant 1981 BBC miniseries. They were  both filmed at Castle Howard in Yorkshire, for example, which clearly must seem the most Bridesheady place around.

Who can forget Jeremy Irons as Charles Ryder in that series? Still, Matthew Goode does a good job and the movie makes a much better point-counterpoint between him and his father.

I still think that Anthony Andrews was unforgettable as Lord Sebastian Flyte in the miniseries. The beautiful boy became a shockingly  dissolute alcoholic/drug addict. I didn’t see that in the Ben  Whishaw characterization, although he did do a remarkable job.

All the same, a darned good movie and much better than I expected. Ignore those people who tell  you it is long and convoluted and blah blah blah. I spent three butt-numbing hours at the recent Batman movie. Now there’s  a show I could have skipped  with pleasure. Three hours I’ll never get back in my life.

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