Wiedersehen mit Brideshead (2008)

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Wiedersehen mit Brideshead: Directed by Julian Jarrold. With Matthew Goode, Thomas Morrison, David Barrass, Anna Madeley. A poignant story of forbidden love and the loss of innocence set in England prior to World War II.

“Itu0026#39;s attributed to just about everybody – from Ginger Rogers to Milan Kundera – and it sounds so right: u0026quot;There are no small parts, only small actors.u0026quot; u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eIf you want proof and a real understanding of the adage, revisit u0026quot;Brideshead Revisited,u0026quot; and behold the miracle of Emma Thompsonu0026#39;s Lady Marchmain, sucking the life out of anything and anybody she touches, and Michael Gambonu0026#39;s delightfully dissolute Lord Marchmain. She has about 10 minutes on the screen, he perhaps four, and yet their characters will follow you out of the theater, and stay with you at length. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThompsonu0026#39;s work is especially dazzling because the mean, sanctimonious character is so clearly alien to the actress (in fact, I suspected miscasting when I first heard of her assignment) and also as the character is so exaggerated, almost a caricature. And yet, Thompson gives the challenge her all, and walks away with it; the performance has Best Supporting Actress written all over it. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eItu0026#39;s difficult to believe that the man you see as Marchmain is the same actor who was the u0026quot;Singing Detectiveu0026quot; (of the superb BBC series, not the Robert Downey Jr. mishap). Gambon has a range as wide as all outdoors, and you never ever see effort in the performance. His amiable Marchmain – subtly hinting at a complex character under the surface – has a physical similarity to Gambonu0026#39;s Uncle Vanya on the London stage, but otherwise, itu0026#39;s a unique creation. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eWhat else is there to this new u0026quot;editionu0026quot; of u0026quot;Bridesheadu0026quot;? A great deal, but only if youu0026#39;re among those who missed both Evelyn Waughu0026#39;s novel and the wonderful Granada TV realization 27 long years ago – Irons! Gielgud! Olivier! – how can you compete with that? So, if itu0026#39;s a first-time visit, see the movie by all means; if you can recite lines from the book or the TV series, you can survive without the new version. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eIn 135 minutes, the film is handling well what the TV series did so completely in – yes – 13 HOURS. Obviously, except for the basic story line (script by Jeremy Brock, of u0026quot;The Last King of Scotlandu0026quot;), this is a different kind of animal, still u0026quot;leisurelyu0026quot; enough, but unable to luxuriate in the smallest details as the series did. The director is Julian Jarrold, and he is doing far better than in his recent u0026quot;Becoming Jane,u0026quot; keeps the story moving in a smooth fashion. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eAs to the leading roles in the film, they are all well acted, but without great impact. Matthew Goode is Charles Ryder, the focal character; Ben Whishaw is the slightly over-flamboyant Sebastian Flyte (who needs understating more than exaggerating – Anthony Andrewsu0026#39; performance in the TV series was exactly right); Hayley Atwell is Sebastianu0026#39;s sister (and rival for Charlesu0026#39; affection). u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eOne amazing thing about u0026quot;Bridesheadu0026quot; is how this story from a different time, about characters from a different world, remains interesting and meaningful. Itu0026#39;s almost as if Waughu0026#39;s work was bulletproof – not that these filmmakers were less than respectful to the author. A better test would be a Eurotrash opera version, heaven forfend.”

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