MY COUSIN RACHEL
hopscotchee: holliday grainger score: 81 rating: PG-13 time: 106 minutes
adapted from, romantic novelist, daphne du maurier's 1951 classic, my cousin rachel is a consumingly vivid and gripping psychological-mystery, full of power and seductive passion. entwined with an equally alluring aesthetic, this movie bewitches you, instantaneously, in its beauty and eerie elegancy and entraps your attention into its twisty storyline, keeping you on the edge 'til the very end. and, then, with an unquestionable-cliffhanger-of-a-ending, your mind is left racing, as you try to unearth the engrossing enigma that is my cousin rachel.
for starters, just by the first shot alone, the audience is quickly aware that this film didn't come to play. opening the movie with the (spoiler) breathtaking, yet slightly uneasy, extreme wide shot of the eye-capturing green landscape, as the sensory surroundings are heightened by the sound of the ocean, does, not only, grab hold of your interest, but begins the story strongly and immediately conveys the mysterious mood of the piece as a whole. not to mention, that this shot was so cleverly incorporated back at the end, after (spoiler) rachel's death. like, wow!! you can feel the impact. but this impeccable shot comp wasn't just saved for the movie's opening-high, this camera-work precision continued flawlessly throughout the film, incorporating a crafty and unique set of angles and positions. two mega stand-outs toward this were the (spoiler) direct, centered, medium-shots of rachel and philip, while they sat across from each other, riding in the carriage, perfectly emphasizing the tension between the two, as well as, the use of hand-held camera techniques, near the end of the movie, which made the filmmaking more aggressive and shaky, properly corresponding with the rapid escalation of toxicity in their hastily-turned-combative relationship. basically, from start to finish, the shot comp deserved 10s across the board, because it was so deeply moving, playing precisely to the emotions of the actors and actresses and the mood of the entire film, and, overall enhanced the viewing of the movie.
at the same time, if we are to tip our hats off to anyone, we must tip our hats to the directing. like we said in the bad mother's handbook review, it is very easy to make or break a screen-adaptation of a classic or loved novel, however, in contrast, roger michell directed this in great honor of daphne du maurier, not losing her iconic flare for mystery and suspense and keeping it the prominent focus throughout all 106 minutes. correspondingly, the directing paired so well to the twisty-ness of the plot that, as the viewer, you were sharing the same journey as philip, looking to discover the truth of rachel's innocence, while, at the same time, always questioning whether to or not to trust her. similarly, the amount of fluidity and coherent layering that each and every element in the story had, which was carefully woven along, caused your focus to solely be attached to the movie. obviously, obviously, because of this, it was clear that roger michell knew what he wanted to do when going into this movie, and the spotless execution really proves this.
however, 'cause full honesty is what we're about, though the plot was absorbingly intricate, the extent of meta that this movie went to to make the audience feel full perturbation of the film may leave audiences baffled. for instance, (spoiler) the ambiguity of the ending leaves the decision of rachel's innocence up to the mind of the viewer, and depending on one's stance on 'those types of endings', this may not be their cup of tea (wink, wink). still, the movie's cliffhanger is hecka wicked and super picante, so we don't think it was an issue to the movie as a whole, but, for those who like bow-wrapped-endings, this is just something to be aware of.
in essence, my cousin rachel is a dramatic mystery that has your mind guessing at every second, and it's hands-down, beautifully done technical crew deserves the highest regards here. so, if you are looking for a saucy and twisty tale, don't hesitate, but don't drink the tea!!
-- thanks, holliday xo