The thing I liked the most about MY COUSIN RACHEL is that it relies solely on its ambiguity to engage its audience. If you are looking for definitive answers whether Rachel is a evil and conniving bitch or not, look elsewhere, because the ending makes you think for yourself. If you are disappointed by a no answers (a la Damon Lindelof) type of movie, then stay far away. However if you want to piece the clues together, even after you walk out of the theater, you might find this as a nice one time watch interesting little mystery with some very good performances.
This movie comes with a sense of dread, paranoia, jealousy, hatred, romance, and dark mystery. Did Rachel poison and drive her former lover mad and then is doing the same thing to his cousin? For what end? Money, power? Or is she really just all that innocent and both men really are losing their minds? I loved this mind game that the movie brought. I kept switching my opinion one scene after another, so the unpredictability is off the charts good. Rachel Weisz and Sam Caflin play off each other extremely well, with Weisz’s charm (but is there a darkness under it) and Caflin’s gullibilty (or is he right) moving the narrative forward while also confusing the shit out of the audience.
Usually these movies set in that old timey era bore me in places, but after this film was over I was left sitting in my seat saying, “wow, that was fast,” and then trying to figure out the movie afterward. I wouldn’t buy this and consider it really just a one time watch, but I definitely recommend it purely because of its unpredictability and the acting. I wouldn’t liked the film to be a little longer and see Caflin’s character plans for revenge against the woman who possibly murdered his guardians gain a little bit more meat to its bones. Instead, she arrives, he is flabbergasted, and it feels like a snap of the fingers where he is instantly in love with her. Eventually I believed it, but right away I was questioning the screenwriters and director’s rush of emotions. I guess they didn’t want the film to get boring?
Definitely a good Netflix watch when it eventually hits that platform. Don’t bend over backwards to see it. It isn’t the be all end all period pieces of be all end all period pieces. It is a little better than average paranoid period piece tiny thriller. The way the film makes you think and the performances keep it from being mediocre and less than mediocre. And isn’t a movie that makes you think at least somewhat commendable?