Brideshead Revisited

Brideshead Revisited is a 2008 film starring Matthew Goode, Hayley Atwell, Ben Whishaw, and Emma Thompson. Based on the 1945 Evelyn Waugh novel, the 2008 film version follows a 1981 TV mini-series that launched the career of Jeremy Irons.

The film follows the story of Charles Ryder, a middle-class London chap who goes to university and meets Sebastian Flyte, a pretty lad of great wealth and personality. The two young men become very good friends and Sebastian becomes very obsessed with Charles. Charles visits Sebastian’s family and home and meets his mother and sister and falls in love with Julia, the sister. The major characters lives are affected forever by these early friendships they made with each other. I really want to read the book after seeing the film, even though I usually like to see the movie after reading the book.

What’s the best thing about this film? To me it was the casting of the wonderful actors. Matthew Goode, last seen by me in Woody Allen’s Match Point, was just right in the role of Charles Ryder, as was Ben Whishaw as Sebastian. Whishaw reminds me of a cross between Rob Lowe and a young Mick Jagger—all the dramatics and prancing around. Emma Thompson was both overbearing and pathetic as the matriarch of Brideshead, the family estate. Hayley Atwell as Julia Flyte was another example of the great casting in this film. I see more plum roles for her in the future.

Many themes and subplots exist in this film. That’s why I want to read the book—to find out more details about the relationships and subtexts dealing with these fictional characters. One of the main themes is atheism versus Catholicism. Enough said.