31 Days, 31 Movies 12/1: My Cousin Rachel
Day 1 of 31 movies in 31 days. I haven’t really made a list of movies to watch, mostly it’s just going to be a game-time decision. If people have any suggestions you can throw then down there in the comments. All I’m looking for are hopefully good movies to watch that I haven’t seen before and have been meaning to see, but double points if you can suggest a movie that I’ve never even heard of before. The first few movies this month will be me knocking out some of the films from 2017 that I meant to get to but just couldn’t catch while they were in theaters–in preparation for the greatest list week of all time.
I picked My Cousin Rachel first for no real reason, just random chance–don’t read too much into it. This movie looked terrifyingly unnerving in the trailers and it intrigued me at the time. The story of this woman Rachel completely disassembling a man with her charm and what was suggested to be some laced tea is a top five nightmare for sure–falling only behind the usual stuff like being buried alive, heights, and having to watch an entire Adam Sandler movie from start to finish. So when Philip walks into Rachel’s room prepared to literally kill her and all she has to say is, “I didn’t expect you to be so beautiful,” and he turns to mush peas I was saddened, horrified, and riveted.
Phillip is the dumbest boy alive. That should have been the tagline of this movie. I can’t imagine being as persistently gullible as this man. And because Phillip is so stupid this movie struggles with the Alien: Covenant problem of neither being able to root for your protagonist because they don’t even look out for their own interests and the antagonist being too lacking in joy or fun to be a feasible option either. As far as period pieces go however, My Cousin Rachel is beautifully shot and well acted, but the conflict does little to push the plot along. It’s not too long into the movie that I lost interest in whether or not Phillip was being manipulated by Rachel, whether she was actually evil or not. Whether she was actually poisoning him and playing innocent or if the innocence was not an act. Which made the cliffhanger at the end even less interesting.
My Cousin Rachel is a beautifully subtle movie with excellent performances by Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin that ultimately suffers from a half baked narrative. Being unfamiliar with it’s source material I don’t know if the problem with the story lies with Roger Michell or Daphne du Maurier. But purely for the reverie with which Michell shoots the English countryside My Cousin Rachel is worth watching.