‘My Cousin Rachel’ is based on the 1951 novel by Daphne du Maurier of the same name. This romantic drama follows orphan Phillip (Sam Claflin) & his relationship with his guardians widow Rachel (Rachel Weisz). This period drama often has it’s focus on romantic elements of the narrative but at it’s core it is predominantly a mystery.
‘My Cousin Rachel’ sees Sam Claflin in one of his biggest leading roles to date. His performance is good and he easily connects with his character. At the beginning of the film he has a very short dual performance. I did find this slightly confusing, but thankfully it’s only for a small collection of scenes. Alongside him we have the wonderful Rachel Weisz playing the mysterious cousin Rachel. She is as expected, rather effective in this type of role. Helping to keep both characters and audiences guessing as to where her loyalties lie. Whilst both performers are very good here I don’t think it’s either of their finest work in recent years. However, this might come down to the issues I had with the narrative which I’ll explain next.
I found the story to be rather repetitive and at times quite obvious. I think this is partly to blame for the performances not really gripping me. There are isolated scenes which work very well however I found the picture as a whole was lacking cohesion. Potentially the lack of characters was an issue, as the constant back and fourth simply between the two main characters occasionally did fail to keep my attention. Thankfully, the ending redeemed the film for me however strangely it also confirmed my slight disinterest in the story. Whilst it offered a spike in the level of drama the conclusion left me simply not really caring about the outcome or fate of the characters. I’m sure this ending will work for many but it just wasn’t completely effective for me.
‘My Cousin Rachel’ is an adequate period drama mystery. The central performances are good and provoke many engaging moments. However, these fail to connect together to make a wholly engaging film. A slightly lacking narrative and uninteresting supporting characters are potentially to blame. The ending offers a welcome change of pace however it doesn’t do enough to elevate the film to being more than average.
Rating – 6/10
Question: What is your favourite Rachel Weisz performance?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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