Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

My Cousin Rachel

(USA, UK, 2017)

It’s from a novel by Daphne du Maurier, a novelist who I have not read. Her short story was the source material for Hitchcock’s The Birds and Rebecca. It takes place in Cornwall, at a time that is not quite specified, but I assume is the Victorian Era. It concerns the strange relationship of Rachel and young Ambrose, named Upper Class Twit of the Year by all the better Cornish newspapers. He becomes infatuated with her to the point of lunacy, signing over all his property to her. But is she poisoning him? Does she intend to take it all and leave him penniless? I would have a hard time thinking of a better, more deserving candidate for the poorhouse. But this is du Maurier, and there is probably something else going on under the surface. I can’t say more without revealing too much. This was made before, shortly after publication in 1952 starring Richard Burton, who won the Golden Globe (the biggest scam awards ever) for Best New Star! He had made several films in England, but was known mostly for his stage work. This is a good-looking adaptation, starring Rachel Weisz and some ingénue whose name I am not even interested enough in to look up. Pleasant, but pretty forgettable.