7.6

I Capture the Castle review
I Capture the Castle

Summary:

Cassandra Mortmain lives in a castle, along with her elder sister Rose, who is beautiful, her smart and slightly geeky younger brother, Thomas, their stepmother, Topaz, who may be the fairest of them all, but certainly isn't evil, and their famous novelist father, James Mortmain, who hasn't written a single word since his instant classic book, Jacob Wrestling, was published over ten years earlier.

While Topaz, a former artists model, communes with nature, and attempts to inspire her husband, James, Rose finds herself longing to be somewhere other than the castle. The family has next to no income, and has begun selling off the furniture to buy food. Being slightly younger, Cassandra feels less trapped and frustrated by this than Rose, although she can't deny that sometimes she wishes the family could be more comfortable. She, and their brother, completely understands when Rose threatens to bargain with the devil to get them out of their current predicament.

It seems that Rose's wish has come true when the family discover that the previous owner of the castle, to whom they were supposed to pay rent, had died, and left the manor, and his money, to the elder of his two young, handsome, eligible nephews.

And so, the entire family concentrates on Rose marrying Simon Cotton. Luckily, by the time he actually proposes, she's fallen in love with him. Unfortunately, so has Cassandra.

Dodie Smith's novel of the same name, on which I Capture the Castle was based, took the form of Cassandra's journal, in which she captures her experiences, and the film is mainly told through her point of view.

The film is a surprisingly faithful adaptation. Coming of age stories tend to be more character than plot driven, and the cast manage to bring the Mortmain's and those they come into contact with to life perfectly.

All of the characters look very much as they were described in the book, particularly Simon Cotton, played by Henry Thomas. Rose Byrne, as Rose Mortmain, and Marc Blucas, as Neil Cotton, have great chemistry, although Romola Garai, as Cassandra, was slightly disappointing. Topaz, played by Tara Fitzgerald, and James Mortmain, played by Bill Nighy, are absolutely perfect.

The castle itself is as much a character as the cast, and once again, it's absolutely perfect, as are the costumes and general atmosphere.

In summary, I Capture the Castle manages to capture Dodie Smith's novel perfectly, and imbue it with a new sort of life. Reminiscent of Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice, yet much more easily related to, I Capture the Castle greatly exceeded my expectations.

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