Brideshead Revisited hits DVD shelves January 13th 2009 and I am giving a copy to one lucky BNN reader! And congrats to our past BNN DVD contest winners! You could be next! (See below)

Attention all you fans of romantic dramas, you who have suffered through endless viewings of super hero’s, mindless comedies and explosions of sight and sound while longing for a period piece of the heart; this is your moment and you can finally purchase your movie tickets with anticipated joy. Brideshead Revisited combines love, longing and British accents, all in the era of WWII. Not bad huh? Based on the novel by Evelyn Waugh this film goes deeper than the 1981 TV series of the same name.

It is the story of Charles Ryder (Matthew Goode) who builds a relationship with the aristocratic Flyte family. As a man of lower social and economic existence, Ryder is eager to fit in to the world that they take for granted and most times loathe. He first meets Sebastian Flyte (Ben Whishaw) in college and they become kinsman on many levels. It is only after meeting Sebastian’s sister Julia (Hayley Atwell) that complications arise. He soon learns that Brideshead Castle is not the beautiful estate he thinks. It is a home that has been governed by Lady Marchmain (Emma Thompson), Sebastian and Julia’s mother, a woman devout in her Catholic beliefs to the point she has driven her family apart.

This film has a few things going for it. First, it is well written with intriguing characters. There is nothing thin or shallow to their existence but rather they are woven with complexity. This is not your typical romantic liaison or dramatic triangle. As you watch each one evolve you see a new level of hurt and bitterness. Of course you are seeing this through the eyes of Ryder and even with him you are not sure what is bubbling just below the surface. Here is a proclaimed atheist thrown into a family of devout Catholics. Devout either by choice or coercion. You are not really sure what keeps pulling him back to Brideshead or what he truly is longing for from anyone.

The acting is stellar by all involved. Thompson is smooth and sophisticated in her portrayal of Lady Marchmain. She delivers lines about religion and faith that get you thinking and she is convincing in her convictions. Goode and Whishaw create an intriguing on-screen chemistry that teeters between platonic and sexual. It makes for a unique triangle of love and friendship once Julia is added to the mix.

This is a story much about religion and the good and bad it can cause. It is by no means an anti faith piece. In contrast it is as devout as the characters themselves. It certainly shows the dark side of religion gone unchecked but does so with a decent balance. We see Ryder struggle with watching his friends torment themselves in their faith. Yet anyone with faith knows the struggles it can cause. There is a line that Lady Marchmain says that I found to be very poignant. “I have only wanted to keep them safe. Yet all they do is hate me.” Though speaking of her children it was easy for me to imagine God saying the same thing about His creation.

Brideshead Revisited is rated PG-13 for some sexual content. It takes place in polite society in a time of sophistication. This makes for a very clean film in language and discussion. There is a lot of homosexual tension in this film but it is done so with taste and beauty. It creates a friction that moves the characters in their emotions. There is nothing boorish or lascivious about it. The issue I had with this film was the length. It is quite a few ticks over two hours and it feels every bit as long or longer. It moves steady but slowly. Only die hard fans of the genre will savor every moment, and the rest will become restless quickly. I give Brideshead Revisited 3.5 out of 5. It is a magnificently written and acted film and one of the better in this genre to come out in a while. But, it is designed for a niche movie goer and not all will be as pleased

Number of discs: 1
Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: January 13th 2009
Run Time: 100 minutes


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Review copyright 2009 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.

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