Charles Ryder is an artist who is taking history classes at Oxford. While there he meets Lord Sebastian Flyte, a flamboyant homesexual and drunk. Ryder and Flyte become friends Ryder is enamored of Flyte's gigantic home estate, Brideshead, and his family. His family includes his mother, Lady Marchmain (Emma Thompson), sisters Julia and Cordelia, and brother Bridey. The family is Catholic. Charles falls in love with Julia (thus breaking Sebastion's heart), but is unable to marry her because he is not Catholic.
This movie felt like it had a lot of weighty issues that it wanted to discuss, but never quite got there. It sort of skirted around the Catholic and homosexual issues. I think we were meant to see that Sabastian felt a terrible guilt for his lifestyle from his very Catholic family, but this wasn't very well played out. He was a fun and great guy away from his family, but someone weighted down and sad while at Brideshead with his family. I also think we were supposed to see how hard it was to be an upper class Catholic family among Protestants. These themes would have been strong and interesting, but were not well played out in the movie at all. To me, Charles came across as a jerk. I was not sure what he was doing with Sebastian. He realized he was gay, seemed to flirt with him, but then gilted him for his sister. . . what??!! After Sebastian and Charles being the main focus of the first half of the film, it abruptly changed to a Julia/Charles unrequited love story. It was jarring and annoying.
Am I being too mean?? Did anyone love this movie?
I think this movie could have been good, but fell short. The themes seemed intriguing and do make me want to watch the 1980's mini-series and read the novel.