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Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

User Score
5.5

Mixed or average reviews- based on 34 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: A provocative and suspenseful drama, Brideshead Revisited tells an evocative story of forbidden love and the loss of innocence set in the pre-WWII era. In the film, Charles Ryder becomes entranced with the noble Marchmain family, first through the charming and provocative Sebastian Flyte, and then his sophisticated sister, Julia. The rise and fall of Charles' infatuations reflect the decline of a decadent era in England between the wars. (Miramax Films) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Sam Adams
    91
    It's rare to find a work that explores issues of faith without veering into religious fundamentalism or militant atheism, which is reason enough to revisit Brideshead one more time.
  2. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    80
    Offers lush and compelling drama drawn from Evelyn Waugh's beloved novel. Purists may blanch at the screenplay's changes to the source material's narrative fine points, but its spirit survives intact.
  3. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    75
    The saga ultimately lacks the emotional wallop of the TV version. But its clever writing, strong performances and sumptuous production design make for a rich experience nonetheless.
  4. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    70
    Brideshead Revisited is untaxing, pleasant enough to watch. But I'm still waiting to be seriously discomfited by it.
  5. 63
    This new Brideshead Revisted, though imperfectly revised, is not entirely regrettable.
  6. Reviewed by: Albert Williams
    60
    Julian Jarrold's adaptation of the Evelyn Waugh novel isn't entirely faithful, but it conveys the book's universal themes.
  7. The world didn't need a superficial big-screen adaptation of a rich, dense book that's about, among many other things, the passage of time. The perplexity is why the film is so lifeless and remote.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 17
  2. Negative: 6 out of 17
  1. BradK
    Aug 10, 2008
    10
    The performances are spot on and the design and cinematography are reason alone to see the film.
  2. Maurice
    Aug 14, 2008
    9
    May be not as great as the TV series, but it is still a very good movie. Great performances, particularly Emma Thompson. Beautiful cinematography and art direction. Expand
  3. RobertI.
    Mar 1, 2009
    6
    Workmanlike, lush, but lacking tooth. Is our generation simply more insipid than the original, or addicted to Technicolor? Give us 8 more hours, in black and white. Expand
  4. DavidW.
    Aug 1, 2008
    5
    Brideshead was an ITV tv series, not BBC, as assumed by Peter Rainer of the Christian Science Monitor. Hay, imagine it, little old UK has more than one TV station, who would have thought?? Expand
  5. ChadS.
    Aug 11, 2008
    5
    More often than not, fanboys get the comic book adaptation they wanted; the most notable exception being, it goes without saying, Joel Schumacher's "Batman and Robin"(for years, George Clooney would go on late night-talk shows and say, "I killed Batman."). There was no blog for William Makepeace Thackeray fans to prevent Mira Nair from integrating William Makepiece Thackeray's "Vanity Fair", or a cyberspace to speak of when Jane champion created a thoroughly modern Isabel for her take on Henry James' "The Portrait of a Lady". Which brings us to Evelyn Waugh's "Brideshead Revisited" and the agenda of the filmmaker to malign the Catholic faith. God doesn't hate Sebastian(Ben Whishaw) and force him into exile; it's how Lady Marchmain(Emma Thompson) uses God as a weapon through her own interpretation of the good book's bylaws. The bizarre love triangle, in particular, the line that connects Charles(Matthew Goode) to Sebastian is what drives "Brideshead Revisited" early on. Does Charles romance another man with complete emotional detachment for the right to hobnob with the filthy rich in their palacial estates? The line between Charles has its own intrigue, too. Maybe the godless Oxford student chases after Julia(Hayley Atwell) since he recognizes that the siblings' mother customized her god to call his relationship with Sebastian into question. "Brideshead Revisited" feels both truncated and overlong after Lady Marchmain throws Charles out of Brideshead. We're barely acquainted with Charles' wife when Julia re-enters his life. Not nearly enough time is spent on his rise in the art world. The same problem applies to Lady Marchmain's realization that she was too stringent with her children. She just tells us. The film doesn't dramatize what led her to this realization. Expand
  6. ScottS.
    Aug 11, 2008
    1
    Choppy and disjointed, and painfully long.
  7. Durago
    Aug 8, 2008
    0
    Awful and boring. A waste of time.

See all 17 User Reviews