My Cousin Rachel

Is, or is not, Rachel Ashley a black widow?

Is she, or is she not, a dangerous woman to love?  Perhaps the danger lies not only in her flawed hands, but in the carelessness of her prey, the initially wary Phillip Ashley, played by Sam Claflin.

Ambrose Ashley (Deano Bugatti)  was everything to his orphaned young cousin Phillip: devoted guardian and mate.  His mysterious and unexpected death soon after a whirlwind marriage to beautiful, worldly Rachel in Italy, prompts dark questions in the grieving and angry Phillip’s mind.

A cougar with a potentially extinguishable cub, Rachel Weisz’s sympathetic portrayal of new widow Rachel Ashley, is almost disarming in her gentleness when she arrives at Phillip and Ambrose’s English working estate.  However, it is not long before the lines of Phillip’s loathing become blurred, and he throws the caution of good friends to the proverbial wind.

If, like me, you read Daphne du Maurier’s incendiary 1944 novel,  My Cousin Rachel, in the wee lamp-ringed hours of teenager-hood (it is a hood), and were no more apprised of the truth at the story’s end; then turned up to watch the film with no more expectation that cinematic interpretation would be equally obfuscatory in resolution, you would not be disappointed.  Writer-director Roger Michell’s 2017 adaptation is a classy rendition of an awful story.

Is Rachel Ashley lover, friend, or mortal foe?

 

c. Kylie Lawrence 2017

 

 

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