Metascore
64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
Watch On
  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: Ken Fox
    88
    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. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  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
    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.
  8. The one performer who seems at home with the gravity of it all is Emma Thompson.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Overnuanced, a world of delicate cruelty, where most of the wounds take place without breaking the skin or even a sweat.
  13. Often powerful, though presented throughout with British understatement.
  14. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    70
    The remarkable thing about Jarrold's movie is how much of the book it manages to capture.
  15. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    70
    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. 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.
  17. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    70
    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.
  18. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    70
    Brideshead Revisited is untaxing, pleasant enough to watch. But I'm still waiting to be seriously discomfited by it.
  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
    As familiar as the costumes and decoration are, the conflicts are unsettlingly vivid and strange.
  22. 63
    This new Brideshead Revisted, though imperfectly revised, is not entirely regrettable.
User Score
5.5

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
    6
    Workmanlike, lush, but lacking tooth. Is our generation simply more insipid than the original, or addicted to Technicolor? Give us 8 more 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
    9
    Fantastic period piece. A beautifully tragic story where religion, dying victorian values, social ambition, and a vastly changing world in 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
    5
    Although the production values are generally good, there is a clobber-you-over-the-head quality to the screen adaptation and some of the 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 »