My Cousin Rachel
Other than Beauty and the Beast, Guardians of the Galaxy and Wonder Woman, Hollywood has clearly gotten bored with itself in 2017.
Despite some fine acting from Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin, My Cousin Rachel suffers from a lack of energy and suspense. There are few surprises, and you know where this film is heading from the very beginning.
Based on a novel by Daphne du Maurier, it tells a simple story of a young Englishman (Mr. Claflin) who seeks revenge on a woman (Ms. Weisz) who he suspects was responsible for the death of his beloved guardian in Italy. Unfortunately, when she arrives at his estate for a visit, she functions as a deadly black widow spider as she spins a web around him.
Given that his former guardian died without a will, his lavish land holdings went directly to Claflin. While Claflin becomes blinded by his emotions, Ms. Weisz has a devilish talent to use romance as a vehicle to accumulate wealth.
While I mentioned in an earlier review Mr. Claflin’s wonderful performances in his previous films Their Finest and Me Before You (both 2016), his grating performance in this movie, directed by Roger Michell, is so overpoweringly irritating that he quickly loses an ounce of sympathy or respect. He ignores advice from Nick, a smart mentor played by Iain Glen, and his daughter Louise (Holliday Grainger), and in the process becomes one of the most clueless human beings that you will ever see on the big screen.
As we recently observed in both Denial and The Light Between Oceans, Ms. Weisz is a sensational actress. Though her character here is both conniving and ruthless, you have to give her credit for using her sexuality as a weapon.
The original My Cousin Rachel, starring Olivia De Havilland and Richard Burton, was released in 1952. I don’t remember if I ever saw it, but I do know that I have little regret.