USA Today - 07/25/2008
"[T]he pre-World War II story of lost innocence is intelligently written by Andrew Davies and Jeremy Brock and handsomely mounted by director Julian Jarrold."
Sight and Sound - 10/01/2008
"Aided by Jess Hall's luminous cinematography, [the] film is extremely beautiful..."
Though director Julian Jarrold's adaptation of the Evelyn Waugh novel BRIDESHEAD REVISITED spans decades and continents, it's a taut film that never drags and can excite contemporary audiences. Matthew Goode (MATCH POINT) stars as lower-class Londoner Charles Ryder, an aspiring artist who is beginning his studies in history at Oxford in the 1920s. A chance encounter with dandyish aristocrat Sebastian Flyte (Ben Whishaw, PERFUME) changes the course of his life. The two embark on a close, intense friendship that is further complicated by the introduction of Sebastian's beautiful sister Julia (Hayley Atwell, CASSANDRA'S DREAM) and his overbearing, extremely religious mother, Lady Marchmain (Emma Thompson). BRIDESHEAD REVISITED follows Charles from the carefree '20s through the beginning of World War II, focusing on his complicated relationship with the upper-class family and their estate, Brideshead.
Along with ATONEMENT's Joe Wright, Jarrold (BECOMING JANE) represents a new era of British period filmmaking. Both men bring a modern sensibility to their work that makes their films feel fresh and sexy, though they never lose authenticity. Jarrold employs some handheld camera work and quick-cut editing in BRIDESHEAD REVISITED, two techniques that separate his film from others in the genre. Fans of the book--and the 11-hour 1981 miniseries--may bristle at the film's relatively brief running time, but screenwriters Andrew Davies (the BBC classic PRIDE AND PREJUDICE) and Jeremy Brock (THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND) have distilled the story into the essentials. BRIDESHEAD REVISITED deftly works with the conflicts of class, religion, and desire and, with its artful costumes and gorgeous settings, is essential viewing for fans of the genre.
Description by Buena Vista Home Entertainment:
Inspired by the best-selling novel, BRIDESHEAD REVISITED is a riveting drama of love, power and betrayal, featuring stunning performances by Academy Award(R) winner Emma Thompson (Best Actress, HOWARDS END, 1992) and Matthew Goode (THE LOOKOUT). When the charming aristcrat Sebastian invites Charles Ryder to his family's estate, Charles becomes seduced by the opulent lifestyle of the Marchmain family, and by Julia, Sebastian's sister. As their romance deepens, repercussions follow, and Charles discovers that at Brideshead, love, money and power come at a price. It's a spellbinding story you'll want to revisit again and again.