Rachel Weisz Rules “My Cousin Rachel”
By Skip Sheffield
The choice was between “The Mummy” and “My Cousin Rachel.” I chose “Rachel” because of its star, Rachel Weisz. I have never seen a bad performance from this British-born actress. “Rachel” may be a new benchmark for her. Weisz has a certain look; an exotic beauty, which she uses to good advantage to play Rachel Ashley, a cousin of Philip Ashley (Sam Claflin) a young British nobleman who will come into a ton of money and a beautiful manor house when he turns 25. Philip was orphaned young and adopted by his godfather Nick Kendall (Iain Glen). When Nick Kendall dies suddenly, Philip suspects his young bride Rachel (Weisz) had something to do with it.
The story is based on British mystery master Daphne Du Maurier’s 1951 novel. Du Maurier is better known for “Rebecca” and “The Birds,” but this movie, adopted for the screen by Roger Michell (“Notting Hill”), may prove a boost to her posthumous reputation.
Rachel does not make her appearance until 20 minutes into the film. When she does, Philip, who has been moping about in his magnificent seaside manor house, is intrigued and a little bit frightened. Is this young widow dressed in black truly grieving for her older husband, or does she have designs on the estate and all its riches?
Weisz keeps us guessing. Philip predictably becomes smitten over her. What is in that exotic tea Rachel keeps serving Philip? If you desire an old-fashioned mystery set in stunning beauty in 19th century England and Italy, this is a movie for you. Rachel Weisz is the bonus. You cannot keep your eyes off her.