"Can We Ever Truly Know the People We Love?"
What You Need To Know:
MY COUSIN RACHEL is slickly written, directed and acted, with wonderful sets and costumes. A psychological mystery from beginning to end, the movie will have viewers questioning everything about the characters’ motives, even after the credits have rolled. In this regard, the movie is thoroughly engaging and suspenseful. Sadly, though, there are very few redeeming qualities in MY COUSIN RACHEL, which ends with a bleak, humanist view of love. MY COUSIN RACHEL also contains some illicit sexuality and foul language. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.
(H, B, C, Ab, Ho, LL, V, SS, N, A, D, M) Light humanist worldview with skeptical view on love with a light moral element showing the negative effect of obsession and light Christian elements with some positive Christian characters, and a pastor, mitigated by main characters who quietly mock church, plus there’s a homosexual character; seven obscenities (including one “f” word) and three profanities; a character almost falls off a cliff, but another character does (though viewers only see the body after the fact), and a man threatens a women multiple times, holding her neck once; depicted fornication in the woods with characters clothed, implied fornication in another scene, kissing, and one homosexual character; upper male nudity; alcohol use; smoking of a pipe but no drugs; and, obsession.
MY COUSIN RACHEL is a romantic mystery based on the 1951 novel by Daphne Du Maurier, the author of REBECCA and THE BIRDS, both of which were made into movies directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Set in the Jane Austen era of England, it’s the third filmed version of the novel, the other two having been made in 1952 and 1983.
Phillip (Sam Claflin) grew up without parents and was raised by his cousin, Ambrose, a wealthy Englishman. Ambrose becomes ill and moves to Italy where the warmer climate is supposed to make him better. Phillip receives letters from Ambrose who reveals that he’s fallen in love with his cousin Rachel in Italy (it’s not revealed how close this cousin is), and marries her.
Phillip grows concerned about this union. His concerns prove to be correct, because he soon receives another letter from Ambrose stating that Rachel is controlling his every move and even stealing his money. Phillip leaves for Italy immediately, but when he arrives, he learns that his beloved guardian has died. Phillip is sure Ambrose’s death was somehow Rachel’s doing.
Phillip returns to the estate, which he’s willed to inherit on his 25th birthday. When he learns Rachel is in England and is coming to stay at the estate, Phillip prepares to confront the woman he believes murdered Ambrose. When Rachel arrives and Phillip musters up the courage to confront her, he’s disarmed by her lovely demeanor and polite personality. It’s not long before Phillip has grown completely infatuated by Rachel, who’s grown to love the estate and all the servants, and decides to stay for some time.
As Phillip increasingly falls for Rachel, who’s much older, Phillips godfather grows concerned about the rashness of some Phillips decisions, including Phillip giving Rachel his mother’s valuable pearl necklace for Christmas. Phillip becomes so obsessed with Rachel that he decides to have his lawyer draw up a document that hands the entire estate to her on his 25th birthday. Is Rachel manipulating Phillip for financial gain, or is Philip a victim of his own obsession for her?
MY COUSIN RACHEL is slickly written, directed and acted, with wonderful sets and costumes. A psychological mystery from beginning to end, the movie will have viewers questioning everything about the characters motives, even after the credits have rolled. In this regard, the movie is thoroughly engaging and suspenseful. However, Phillip’s transition from hating Rachel to falling in love with her happens a bit too quickly to be credible. This could be the fault of Sam Claflin’s portrayal of Phillip or the fault of the movie and its script. Actress Rachel Weisz, though, is terrific in the title role of Rachel.
Regretfully, there are few redeeming qualities in MY COUSIN RACHEL. A morality tale on the dangers and pitfalls of obsession, the movie ends with the notion that people will never truly know the motivations of some people they love. This may be true in some, or even many, cases, but it’s a bleak, humanist outlook on love overall. MY COUSIN RACHEL has a few scenes that take place in a church service, but in two instances, the main characters quietly mock the ceremony. In the end, the movie’s humanist worldview and brief Anti-Christian elements leave a bitter taste. Also, this version of MY COUSIN RACHEL shows Phillip and Rachel sleeping together. It also contains some foul language. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for the new version of MY COUSIN RACHEL.