Brideshead Revisited

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: -4

Matthew Goode, Ben Whishaw, Hayley Atwell, Emma Thompson, Michael Gambon. Drama. Written by Andrew Davies, Jeremy Brock. Directed by Julian Jarrold.

FILM SYNOPSIS: This adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's novel focuses on the friendship of two college students, Charles Ryder and Sebastian Flyte, one rich and gay, one poor and not certain. They bond, to the consternation of fellow classmates, but during a holiday to the elaborate family home of Brideshead, Charles falls for Sebastians sister. The love affair between Charles and Julia is doomed, however, due to Julias domineering mother, a devout Catholic who wont hear of her daughter marrying Charles, an atheist. The underlying theme has to do with the authors negative view of Catholicism and how religion can destroy relationships.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Though this is involving storytelling, overall it grieved my spirit. Sebastian isnt just gay; hes a tormented soul, self-centered and spiteful. His lifestyle, his alcoholism and his deep-seated family hatred has made his life a tragedy. And what a family. Caught between a mother who exemplifies little of Gods compassion, and an adulterous father who despises the influence of the Christian faith, the children have grown up to find relief through alcohol and illicit affairs. They are not a happy bunch. And the filmmakers use this perspective to paint a faith in Christ as little more than a way for community leaders to control the masses.

Its difficult as a Christian movie reviewer to address the portrayal of a gay lifestyle in films. Today one has to be careful of how things are stated; otherwise, one gets the label of homophobe, which to some is the equivalent of being a book-burner. But the theme is prominent in Brideshead Revisited and must be addressed. So let me simply state that this is one example of how the reading of Gods Word is important to our daily lives. If we study the scriptures, we can get a biblical understanding of Gods position on this and every other subject without being misled by those in the media who either pay little heed to biblical principles or have rejected them. Whats more, we can point to book and chapter as the defense of our understanding.

As to the film, it is well directed, and though deliberately paced, manages to mesmerize through involving storytelling. The performances are satisfactory, with Emma Thompson outstanding as the matriarch, concerned with social appearance and oppressed by church rulings. But overall it left me depressed, as the characters are sacrificed in order to make what seemed to me to be an anti-religion statement.

DVD Alternatives: Pride & Prejudice. Keira Knightley stars in this version of the classic tale of love and misunderstanding unfolding in class-conscious England near the close of the 18th century. The five Bennet sisters with the aid of their worrisome mother are seeking husbands and securing the familys future. Fueled by detailed direction, pumped by satisfying performances, energized by fluid and sultry cinematography, and textured by Jane Austins ability to infuse humor into what would merely be melodrama in the hands of other authors, this newest adaptation is elegant, gentile and lovely.


Sense and Sensibility (1995). Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant. Tweaking the social mores of the day, this engrossing screenplay (by the film's star, Emma Thompson), concerns two sisters who discover the joys and tribulations of young love. Set in prim and proper 18th-century Regency-era England, Jane Austens romance novel is beautifully photographed and splendidly acted. The melodrama is full of wit, humor, and passion. PG (no profanity, no sexual situations, no violence - just great tongue-in-cheek storytelling).

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Miramax Films

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: A few crude expressions and sexual remarks

Obscene Language: A couple of mild expletives, but I caught no harsh or profane language.

Profanity: None

Violence: None

Sex: One sexual situation between a man and a woman beginning an adulterous affair; we see two men kiss a couple of times.

Nudity: Male backside nudity as two men are seen skinny dipping.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Veiled sexual innuendo between two men.

Drugs: Everyone drinks a lot.

Other: A drunk vomits; we see a man cleaning it up; anti-religious sentiments.

Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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