A young Englishman plots revenge against his late cousin's mysterious, beautiful wife, believing her responsible for his death. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.
A German soldier tries to determine if the Dutch resistance has planted a spy to infiltrate the home of Kaiser Wilhelm in Holland during the onset of World War II, but falls for a young Jewish Dutch woman during his investigation.
Philip, an orphan, was taken in and brought up by his cousin Ambrose, a Devon landowner he loves like a father. At a time, Ambrose, who has been advised by his physician a warmer climate, leaves for Tuscany. There he meets and marry Rachel, a half-Italian cousin of his. After an idyllic outset, the situation deteriorates. Shortly before his death, Ambrose manages to alert Philip: his wife is killing him slowly. Willing to sort out the truth, Philip goes to Ambrose's place but he does not find Rachel, who has gone away. Instead he meets Rainaldi, her friend and lawyer, who does not inspire him with confidence. He returns to his estate, persuaded that Rachel is evil and is the direct cause of Ambrose's death. Some time later, Rachel announces her coming. Determined to welcome her coolly, he is stunned to discover a woman not only beautiful but elegant, intelligent and sensitive. Instead of strangling her like he said he would, he falls in love. Madly. Written by
At an age (late 40s) when sadly many actresses start to find it tougher to obtain decent roles, Rachel Weisz is really coming into her own with central roles in films like "Denial" and now "My Cousin Rachel". Based on the 1951 novel by English writer Daphne du Maurier (previously filmed in 1952) and both scripted and directed by South African-born Roger Mitchell, this is a Hitchockian- type work, full of intrigue and mystery in a bucolic 19th century context.
Throughout the narrative, we are presented with information which forces the viewer to revise constantly one's view as to whether the eponymous relative is a callous and scheming malevolent or totally misjudged and misunderstood. In a wonderful performance, Weisz enables us to be equally convinced by both interpretations. The work is embellished by well-acted support roles (notably by young Sam Claflin) plus excellent cinematography and some graphic countryside.
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