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.
My Cousin Rachel is a 2017 romantic drama film, written and directed by Roger Michell, based upon the 1951 novel My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier. The film has been adapted from Daphne Du Maurier’s gothic romance novel of the same name. It stars Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Iain Glen, Holliday Grainger, and Pierfrancesco Favino. It was shot in England and Italy in spring 2016, and is about a young man in Cornwall who meets the wife of his older cousin, suspecting her of having been responsible for his death. The film was released in the United States and United Kingdom on 9 June 2017, by Fox Searchlight Pictures. Weisz received positive reviews for her performance as the title character.
Principal photography began on 4 April 2016, and lasted through the spring in England and Italy. With production designer Alice Normington, Michell selected filming locations in South Devon, Oxfordshire and Surrey, combining shots to create an idealistic setting. In Surrey, photography took place at West Horsley Place, a 16th-century building owned by Bamber Gascoigne. Michell said they selected the house for “the spirit of the place”, which he described as “so alive and raw”. Flete Estate, Devon was used for beach and riding scenes and shots of cliffs.
Weisz was costumed by Dinah Collin, who aimed for a fashion foreign to Cornwall, and consulted portraits to create an authentic classy appearance. The pearls used in the story were also made for the film, based on an 1835 painting. The crew decided on only two main dresses for the Rachel character, since she was not at home in Cornwall. For the part, Weisz had to learn to ride a horse side-saddle, a feat made more challenging given her costume. The horse, previously used on the television production Game of Thrones, fell to the ground when it felt Weisz pull on its rein, as it had been trained to do for television, causing Weisz to fear for her safety.
My Cousin Rachel grossed $2.7 million in North America and $6.4 million in other territories, for a worldwide gross of $9.2 million. In its first weekend, My Cousin Rachel made £638,000 in 467 U.K. theatres, performing strongly in independently owned outlets. By 3 July, My Cousin Rachel made £2.27 million in the U.K. In the U.S., it made $954,000 from 523 theatres in its first weekend.
About the Story
After the young boy Philip is orphaned, he is adopted by his older cousin Ambrose, who raises him as a son on his large estate in Cornwall. Despite societal beliefs of the necessity of motherhood, Philip grows up with a nearly complete absence of women in the household, before Ambrose leaves the estate for the sunnier climate of Florence. A young man, Philip is left with his godfather Nick Kendall, and learns through correspondence that Ambrose has met his widowed cousin Rachel in Florence, and they have wed.
The Kendalls express surprise that Ambrose has become interested in women, though Philip found the absence of female companionship natural. Later, Ambrose begins sending letters indicating distrust of the medical care he is receiving in Florence. Concerned, Philip travels to Italy, only to be informed Ambrose has died and Rachel has left. Though Ambrose’s will left the entire estate to Philip pending his next birthday, Philip is convinced Rachel is guilty of murder and threatens her friend Rinaldi with revenge.
Philip returns to Cornwall, and later learns Rachel has followed. She arrives at the estate, and while he vows to confront her, he meets her in the boudoir and is infatuated by the older woman’s beauty as they share tea. They accompany each other on riding excursions, and no longer suspecting her of foul play, he throws an accusatory letter on a campfire. The two cousins conflict over Rachel’s intentions to return to Florence and live independently, but Rachel indicates she is not angry with him, and they kiss.
Rachel also reveals Ambrose had lost hope for her after a miscarriage. She stays for Christmas celebrations, when Nick receives bank information that she has drastically overdrawn her accounts. Nick warns Philip that Rachel was notorious in Florence for extravagance and lust. Despite this, Philip intends to turn over much of the estate’s wealth to Rachel, as soon as he can legally dispose of it on his next birthday.
The day arrives, and when Rachel realizes what he has done for her, she expresses gratitude. While out in nature, the two have sex. At a dinner with friends, Philip declares he and Rachel are engaged, but Rachel accuses him of madness. In private, she tells him she was merely thankful to him, but she was not bought and is not ashamed of having sex. This leads to a struggle, after which Rachel professes fear of him.
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My Cousin Rachel (2017)
Directed by: Roger Michell
Starring: Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Holliday Grainger, Iain Glen, Andrew Knott, Poppy Lee Friar, Vicki Pepperdine, Katherine Pearce, Simon Russell Beale, Vicki Pepperdine, Bobby Scott Freeman
Screenplay by: Roger Michell
Production Design by: Alice Normington
Cinematography by: Mike Eley
Film Editing by: Kristina Hetherington
Costume Design by: Dinah Collin
Set Decoration by: Barbara Herman-Skelding
Music by: Rael Jones
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sexuality and brief strong language.
Studio: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Release Date: June 9, 2017