Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn
Waugh's acclaimed 1945 novel about a man's obsession with a family
during pre-World Word II England – has been refashioned for the
silver screen. Director Julian Jarrold (Becoming Jane) along
with screenwriters Andrew Davies and Jeremy Brock have chosen to
centerpiece the novel's gay romance, removing its previously
Brideshead now fully embraces
Sebastian Flyte's sexuality. It is no longer repressed as it was in
the novel and 1981 British miniseries (which launched the career of a
young Jeremy Irons).
Charles Ryder (played by Matthew Goode)
makes fast friends with Sebastian Flyte (Ben Whishaw), a
self-destructive aristocrat, while attending Oxford. Sebastian is
flamboyant – his teddy bear Aloysius and a cocktail rarely out of
reach – and Charles, who is warned of his behaviors, is quickly
taken by Sebastian's charms.
Sebastian's love for Charles – a
faint hint in Waugh's novel – now breathes openly. Sebastian, it
seems, is out to everyone at Brideshead. His mother, Lady Marchmain
(Emma Thompson) the matriarch of Brideshead, warns Charles about her
son's sinful tendencies.
In an interview with AfterElton.com,
actor Matthew Goode discussed his character's relationship with
Sebastian, “Obviously, Charles' friendship with Sebastian was the
main love affair of his life, and I think that's one of the reasons
he has such guilt at the end. Nothing's black and white in this,
really... I think the main love of his life was Sebastian, but in
that way that they were linked.”
Yet, Brideshead is a period
piece, its setting is a Catholic family in turmoil and ultimately
Waugh was telling a story about sin and sacrifice with religious
underpinnings. Under such circumstances, to have Charles and
Sebastian consummate their love would have been duplicitous.
And still Director Jarrold does just
that to an extent. In a drunken moment, the pair kiss – removing
any ambiguities about their relationship and Sebastian's sexuality.
Brideshead Revisited opens
nationally Friday, August 8th.