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Like the 2005 adaptation of
Pride & Prejudice
, this take on a literary classic is destined to be compared to the landmark TV serialisation that came before it. ITV's 1981 production of Evelyn Waugh's between-the-wars tale was memorably brought to life by Anthony Andrews and Jeremy Irons as the leads. Here Matthew Goode takes the role of Charles Ryder, a middle-class scholar who is drawn into the upper-class world of fellow Oxford undergraduate Lord Sebastian Flyte (Ben Whishaw). The two men develop a close bond over the course of a summer spent at Flyte's family home, Brideshead. However, their chaste relationship is thrown into jeopardy by Sebastian's erratic behaviour and Charles's growing attraction to Sebastian's sister, Julia (Hayley Atwell).
director Julian Jarrold's film has much to commend it, particularly the performances of Whishaw (charming, camp, dangerous) and co-stars Emma Thompson and Patrick Malahide. And although the bookend sequences do feel rather like awkward appendages, the loss of lesser characters and changes to the book's structure shouldn't offend purists too much.
A student at Oxford in the 1920s becomes fascinated with the glamorous lives of an aristocratic friend and his sister, but a complex love triangle develops between the three, while their idyllic relationship is threatened by the arrival of the siblings' embittered mother. Drama based on Evelyn Waugh's novel, starring Matthew Goode, Ben Whishaw, Hayley Atwell and Emma Thompson.
Cast & Crew
Edited for content
DVD and Blu-ray
3 Oct 2008
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