My Cousin Rachel

Daphne du Maurier’s gothic novel My Cousin Rachel tells the story of a young English nobleman who, convinced that the death of his beloved guardian was engineered by the man’s new bride, plots his revenge against the woman, only to find himself falling in love with her once they meet. Writer-director Roger Michell (Notting Hill, Le Week-end) gives this material the Masterpiece Theatre treatment, with handsome production design and prim, technically precise performances. The film is too refined to be truly suspenseful, and the murder mystery feels academic. Rachel Weisz is characteristically fine as the wife, imbuing her character with charm and dark mystery, yet Michell provides no context for the performance—the film’s pleasures are strictly superficial.