Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Sam Adams
    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: Ken Fox
    It shifts the focus from Charles and Sebastian's youthful idyll to the stronger, more provocative relationship between Charles and Julia, wherein lies Waugh's concerns with materialism and velvet-gloved dual grip of family and religion.
  3. 83
    You could wish for more, but for that there's still the epic-length miniseries. If you want just two hours of mournful, lovely melodrama of manners, this is a fine choice.
  4. It's a great piece of work in a movie that, whatever its failings, deserves to be seen even if you swear undying allegiance to the BBC mini-series.
  5. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    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.
  6. The film, a distinctly secular take on Waugh's religiosity, is far more interested in the battle of blind faith vs. rigid unbelief and its devastating effects. Herein, everyone is complicated – by their station, their philosophy, their God – and everyone is complicit.
  7. 75
    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.
  8. The film is plush and passionate and graced with elegant performances. Best is that of Emma Thompson as Brideshead's matriarch, Lady Marchmain, who resembles a cross between Helen Mirren's Queen Elizabeth II and Pope Benedict.
  9. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    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.
  10. 75
    There are times when Brideshead Revisited shows its seams. For those with an affinity for this kind of movie - and you know whether this applies to you - Brideshead Revisited is a worthy, although not superior, motion picture.
  11. Overnuanced, a world of delicate cruelty, where most of the wounds take place without breaking the skin or even a sweat.
  12. Often powerful, though presented throughout with British understatement.
  13. The one performer who seems at home with the gravity of it all is Emma Thompson.
  14. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    This is a world of dinner jackets and evening gowns, casual jaunts to Venice and Morocco; it's about elegance, style, money and perhaps too heady a mix of drink, religion and intrigue.
  15. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Though I can imagine Waugh rolling his eyes at the very idea of Brideshead Revisited as "a heartbreaking romantic epic," this remake is, often inadvertently, closer to the novel's spirit than the sepulchral television series, albeit still not half as waggishly Waugh-ish as "Bright Young Things," Stephen Fry's delightfully naughty interpretation of "Vile Bodies."
  16. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    The remarkable thing about Jarrold's movie is how much of the book it manages to capture.
  17. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    Brideshead Revisited is untaxing, pleasant enough to watch. But I'm still waiting to be seriously discomfited by it.
  18. The real question is whether the film moves the "Brideshead" ball down the playing field in any meaningful way since the acclaimed miniseries. And I'd have to say that it doesn't so much advance it as it shrinks it into a golf-ball-size nugget.
  19. Bound to seem, at best, a kind of CliffsNotes guide to the novel's highlights, especially if the casting is not all that inspired.
  20. The new film seems a little nervous about the religious content; it's more interested in the swoony bits between Charles and Julia.
  21. 63
    This new Brideshead Revisted, though imperfectly revised, is not entirely regrettable.
  22. 63
    As familiar as the costumes and decoration are, the conflicts are unsettlingly vivid and strange.
  23. Although it has its involving moments, the watered-down Waugh fails to make any kind of lasting connection.
  24. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    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.
  25. Reviewed by: Albert Williams
    Julian Jarrold's adaptation of the Evelyn Waugh novel isn't entirely faithful, but it conveys the book's universal themes.
  26. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    A very noble movie, which makes it interesting at times, but not often enough.
  27. 50
    The film plays fast and loose with the book, until its emotional depths, spiritual conflicts, and Waugh's discreet humor have been wrung out.
  28. 50
    Jarrold's reduction of the story is so archetypal that it's indistinguishable from soap opera.
  29. May feel especially like a statue covered in drapery. Unfortunately, the movie's attempts to steam things up feel about as exciting as an after-dinner mint.
  30. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    Okay for those who dote on ‘classics illustrated’ in the Merchant Ivory line, but not as fluid as all that.
  31. 40
    Mr. Goode shows all the charisma of a stalk of boiled asparagus molded into the likeness of Jeremy Irons.
  32. 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.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 34 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 17
  2. Negative: 6 out of 17
  1. RobertI.
    Mar 1, 2009
    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. Full Review »
  2. MatthewM.
    Jan 31, 2009
    Fantastic period piece. A beautifully tragic story where religion, dying victorian values, social ambition, and a vastly changing world in the early 20th century are at odds. Full Review »
  3. pascaladolphejean
    Jan 16, 2009
    Although the production values are generally good, there is a clobber-you-over-the-head quality to the screen adaptation and some of the performances that make the film far inferior to the mini-series. Marginalizing the theme of old-world Catholicism in the lives of the characters was also a major mistake. At best, this version is a watchable costume drama, and not much more. Too bad. Full Review »