There have been other iterations of du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel, but this would mark the first big-screen adaptation and it has all the mid-19th century panache expected of a “dark romance;” a genre that might as well be called a tragedy because, based on du Maurier’s affection for not-so-happy endings, we know it’s not going to end well. This has everything that will make for a captivating tragic period piece: revenge, forbidden love, dramatic candlelit scenes, dandy cravats, billowing sleeves, modest ankle-length dresses, and, of course, incest.
Directed and adapted for the screen by Roger Michell (Notting Hill, Hyde Park on Hudson), the film unexpectedly looks less like a romance and more of a Gothic thriller with its suggested paranormal twists and dark overtones of obsessive love. Weisz seems like the perfect Rachel with her sweet face that hints at a malevolent lurking underneath, while Claflin fits into the role of a dashing 19th-century gentleman who just looks like the kind of guy to get manipulated and controlled by a woman.
It definitely looks more dark than romantic.
Dino-Ray Ramos | Staff Writer