My Cousin Rachel [2017] ★★★

As we needed further proof of her exceptional talent, Rachel Weisz delivers a mesmerizing performance as the title character, a woman who could be innocent or an evil seductress with murderous thoughts. Working from a novel by Daphne Du Maurier (who also wrote Hitchcock’s Oscar winner “Rebecca”), director Roger Michell explores the possibilities of both scenarios, while keeping us guessing at every turn. Sam Claflin plays Philip, a young Englishman who believes that his late cousin was murdered by his wife Rachel. Things take an unexpected turn when Philip falls under her spell, which gradually develops into a love affair. Or so he thinks. Told in straightforward fashion, “My Cousin Rachel” isn’t always compelling, but it did keep me hooked up until the very last seconds. Weisz is exceptionally good ans steals every scene she appears in, but Claflin’s character is naive and difficult to empathize with at times. It’s still a good period piece overall, with beautiful costumes and a great production design to satisfy any fan of the genre.

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