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Revisited: Depression, a modern-day silent killer
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Roomzzz Aparthotel Nottingham City. St James Hotel. Delta by Marriott Hotel Nottingham Belfry. All hotels in Nottingham On his deathbed Lord Marchmain, who hitherto has not wanted Catholicism, regains his faith and dies reconciled to the Roman Catholic Church. Deeply affected by her father's transformation, Julia decides she cannot relinquish her own faith to marry Charles, and the two sadly part.
Several years later, the Second World War is in process. Charles, now a disillusioned army captain, finds himself once again at Brideshead, this time in its capacity as a military base. A corporal tells him Julia is serving in the reserves and that her elder brother, Bridey, died during the Blitz.
We also learn that he is alone — he has no girlfriend or wife. In the movie's final scene, Charles visits the family chapel, where he finds a single lit candle. He dips his hand into holy water and moves to snuff out a candle that is almost out of wax.
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However, he then reconsiders, and leaves the flame to burn. However, constant budget issues stalled the film's production and Yates left the project to direct Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This led to the roles being recast by directorial replacement Julian Jarrold.
Just as it did for the earlier television adaptation of Waugh's novel, Castle Howard in North Yorkshire serves as the setting for Brideshead. In The World of Brideshead , a bonus feature on the DVD release of the film, Simon Howard reveals his family was eager to welcome film crews to the estate once again. It had become a major tourist attraction after the television serial aired; they hoped the feature film would renew interest in the property. Principal photography took place at Castle Howard during the summer of , and many extras were employed from the local population in and around York.
The ending of the film was also altered from that of the novel. The novel ends with Charles entering the chapel and kneeling down to pray using "ancient and newly learned words," thus implying he has recently converted to Catholicism. Comparing the film to the earlier television adaptation, A. Scott of The New York Times called it "necessarily shorter and less faithful to Waugh's book, and also, for what it's worth, more cinematic.
It is also tedious, confused and banal. None of it registers with any force in this lazy, complacent film, which takes the novel's name in vain. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times observed, "While elegantly mounted and well acted, the movie is not the equal of the TV production, in part because so much material had to be compressed into such a shorter time.
It is also not the equal of the recent film Atonement , which in an oblique way touches on similar issues. But it is a good, sound example of the British period drama; mid-range Merchant-Ivory , you could say.
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Mark Olsen of the Los Angeles Times said, "The film's strengths are in Waugh's story and not so much in the particular spin of these filmmakers. Their decision to turn up the volume on the homosexual undertones between Sebastian and Charles feels like an unimaginative nod to our modern times. In Brideshead , Jarrold seems too often to consciously be making an in-quotation-marks classy picture, much like last year's Atonement , in which the costumes and setting are just so, but the human drama gets lost amid the pictorial pleasantries.
That the film is neither a true triumph nor a total disaster makes it somewhat difficult to justify revisiting Brideshead , apart from the hope it will inspire someone somewhere to pick up the book. David Wiegand of the San Francisco Chronicle called it "a very noble movie, which makes it interesting at times, but not often enough. There's no one better at dusting off English classics for the wide and small screens than Davies. He and Brock have done a competent job of culling just the right plot elements from Waugh's book and assembling them into a serviceable story.
Whether you want to stick it out, however, is another matter entirely. Jarrold and his writers are more than respectful of the original source material, but compressing it all into two hours and change doesn't make for a terribly enjoyable film. Davies and Brock perform miracles in making this somewhat workable, but the ultimate impossibility of their task shows at the end. David Ansen of Newsweek suggested, "Think of Jarrold's briskly paced, stylish abridgment as a fine introduction to Waugh's marvelously melancholy elegy.
It brings these unforgettable characters to life again, and if it sends people back to the novel, and back to the classic TV series. There's room for more than one Brideshead in this far less glamorous day and age. Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly graded the film B and commented, " Brideshead Revisited is opulent and watchable, yet except for Thompson's acting, it's missing something — a grander, more ambivalent vision of the England it depicts dying out. In the series, we looked at that palatial fortress of Brideshead manor and thought: Here, in one house, is a fading empire.
In the movie, it's just sublime real estate. Dennis Harvey of Variety called the film "finely wrought" and added, "Purists may blanch at the screenplay's changes to the source material's narrative fine points, but its spirit survives intact. Goode provides a fine center of gravity as the middle-class tourist in heady but toxic upper-class realms. Thompson superbly etches a complex, eventually tragic portrait in her relatively few scenes. Geoffrey Macnab of The Independent rated the film three out of five stars and called it "flawed and uneven.
Boldly — and perhaps rashly — they have almost entirely dispensed with voiceover narration. Anyone expecting an equivalent to Jeremy Irons ' evocative reading of Waugh's prose will be disappointed. On the credit side, this Brideshead boasts a handful of very strong performances. Emma Thompson makes a formidable Lady Marchmain and Michael Gambon is dependable as ever as Lord Marchmain but this Brideshead is slow to build momentum.
At first, it is hard to engage emotionally in a story that leaps around in time and skirts over what should be key events, but the film grows progressively stronger and more moving.