My Cousin Rachel: A Stunning Period Piece
My Cousin Rachel is a period piece film based on the novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier. Set in England, the film tells the story of Philip (Sam Claflin), a young orphan who was taken in by his cousin Ambrose. Having grown up with his cousin Ambrose as a father figure, Philip is devastated when Ambrose falls ill and leaves to go to Italy in an attempt to improve his health. While in Italy, he becomes sicker and sicker, under the care of his cousin and now wife, Rachel (Rachel Weisz). A few letters from Ambrose have raised Philip’s suspicion of Rachel. When Philip ventures to Italy and learns that his dear cousin has passed, he vows vengeance on Rachel, who he is sure is the reason Ambrose died. Despite her marriage to Ambrose, she is nowhere to be found when Philip heads to Italy. It is only once he returns to his home in England when she visits.
Philip learns that Rachel is a very alluring woman and his callousness towards her softens. Philip is enchanted by Rachel and starts giving her gifts and money. Those who know Philip start to worry, and his closest confidante, Louise (Holliday Grainger) expresses her concern for Philip and his irrational actions. Regardless of Louise and his lawyer, Nick (Iain Glen) voicing their concerns, Philip presses forward and continues to fall further in love with Rachel, giving her all of the assets in his estate. When she refuses him romantically, Philip becomes belligerent and depressed. Oddly, Philip begins to fall ill and with only Rachel to care for him, is entirely under her control. Philip begins to suspect that it is Rachel who is making him ill and sets on a mission to prove her guilt.
My Cousin Rachel is a beautiful film with incredible costume and set design. From the first shot of the cliffs in England to the end shot, the film is a visual masterpiece. The colors come alive and create an otherworldly feel. The costumes are beautiful and intricate, giving more life to the film. The story is engaging and entertaining, and while it feels like it lags in some points, the desire to know the truth keeps the audience invested. The writing is spectacular and ridden with humor.
The performances by Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin are top notch. Sam Claflin gives a stellar performance with an incredibly diverse range of emotions. His performance is mesmerizing to watch, ranging from a distant and calloused young man to a slightly unhinged man, delirious with love and desperation. Rachel Weisz is incredible playing a role with such duality of personalities. She needs to be callous and distant, but warm and inviting enough to convince us of Philip’s love and infatuation with her. Together, they are electrifying. The secondary characters in the film are fantastic as well. Holliday Grainger is great as Louise and serves as an excellent balance for Philip.
My Cousin Rachel is filled with intrigue, excitement, seduction and deceit. Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin are superb together, creating a truly captivating dynamic and story. A beautifully crafted film, My Cousin Rachel is sure to beguile and exhilarate you.