My Cousin Rachel: Film Review

I’m a huge fan of Sam Claflin and I’ve been following his films for the last few years now so I was obviously going to check out My Cousin Rachel but I was even more pleased to discover he puts in one of his finest performances yet.

He plays Philip, a wealthy Englishman who believes his guardian was murdered by his wife, Philip’s cousin Rachel (Rachel Weisz). He invites her to his mansion with the plan to exact revenge on her but soon falls under her spell.

My Cousin Rachel is sizzling with intrigue and sexual tension and drama kept building and building as Philip became more enamoured with Rachel, more maddened by her behaviour, and he seemed to lose all concept of common sense.  I got so excited waiting for some climactic moment that felt like it was coming… but it never did. This can hardly be blamed on the film as it is loyal to Daphne Du Maurier’s book and follows the ending but I didn’t quite get the dramatic moment I was anticipating and this ambiguous end means you are left wondering if Philip was mad or Rachel was actually being devious.

Clafin does well in navigating the deteriorating mindset of Philip, who becomes certain Rachel is poisoning him or manipulating him to gain control of his estate but is still infatuated by her to the point of embarrassment. You sympathised with him in some moments but in others you disliked him very much and became more on Rachel’s side. The audience’s allegiances are never concrete. You never know if Rachel has done what she is accused of so you can’t help but feel for her when Philip loses his marbles and becomes mean. Rachel is charming to all but vulnerable in private and Weisz was well cast in the role. Iain Glen and Holliday Grainger also excel in their supporting parts, although I felt really sorry for Grainger’s character Louise, who is Philip’s good friend and expected partner.

The film looked gorgeous with sweeping shots of Cornish landscapes and was captivating as hell, despite the slow pace, but I just felt a little disappointed by the end.

In cinemas Friday 9th June 

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