My Cousin Rachel

Movie review by Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
My Cousin Rachel Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 14+

Strong, complicated woman anchors intense mystery tale.

PG-13 2017 106 minutes

Parents say

age 18+

Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 15+

Based on 2 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Retro/Modern Feminist (?) Role

This film is aimed at a literate audience. Parents use caution with your young teens. Still, they may already may know more about the adult themes here than we'd really like them to. A fan of the earlier black-and-white film, I was eager to see this recent effort. Sam Claflin's Philip is younger and much less mature than Burton's characterization. His unfamiliarity with women makes the swift obsession with Rachel more believable. He's easy prey for a femme fatale, if that's what Rachel is. He's totally at her mercy. But what mercy is there? Philip has a petulant, entitled nature. He's full of rage and jealousy, the antithesis of real love. His inexcusable violence stems from inability to control Rachel, as men of 19th century Britain are supposed to do. He doesn't know how to attain a mature relationship with this most desirable woman. In their society, women are usually financially dependent upon men. Actress Rachel Weisz presents a "proper" feminine image - modest, self-effacing and gentile. Her underlying passion and desire for independence belie the outward mask. She's strong-minded and self-determined, willing to defy convention (at least privately) when it suits her. Rachel's alternating "come-hither" and "don't-touch-me" personas increase the mystery of her motives. Her stated intention to thank Philip for his kindness seems a very poor excuse for a sexual relationship, albeit a brief one. Mature, intelligent and well-intentioned women don't engage in sex out of pity or mere gratitude, especially with such an emotionally fragile partner. Surely Rachel recognizes Philip's utter infatuation with her. She knows (or should know) that their passionate night will intensify his obsession. The timing of their tryst is all the more questionable. Is Rachel ensuring access to his inheritance, not knowing that Philip has already signed it over to her? Once she learns of her new financial position, she's cold and unresponsive to him. Yet there's still a question as to her real motivation. Is she a clever poisoner, a black-widow killer? Or is Rachel simply a woman at odds with society's expectations of her? The questions drive the mystery of this somewhat sluggish drama . Last minute revelations, thrown in too late to change Rachel's fate, leave the viewer as uncertain as the not-very-sympathetic leading man. He has to live with the questions and with his guilty conscience. I'd like to know what Daphne du Maurier intended in her novel. Maybe I'll read it.

Movie Details

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