Movie Review by Neils Hesse
Starring: Romola Garai, Rose Byrne, Henry Thomas, Marc Blucas, Bill Nighy, Tara Fitzgerald
Director: Tim Fywell
Cassandra Mortmain (Romola Garai) is a teenage girl living in a derelict castle in the 1930’s in England with her writer/father James (Bill Nighy), stepmother Topaz (Tara Fitzgerald), sister Rose (Rose Byrne), younger brother Thomas and helper Stephen (Henry Cavill). Her father is suffering from serious writer’s block, having written one immensely successful novel but failing to write a follow up. Topaz, an artist, feels that she ought to be able to inspire James into writing and thus assumes that something is terribly wrong when she can’t.
Rose desperately wants to leave their extremely humble existence and go out into the world but everything changes when the owner of the castle dies and consequently all the arrears on the rent are due in full.
The new owners are two young American brothers, Simon Cotton (Henry Thomas) and Neil (Marc Blucas). The Mortmain family now see Rose as their only hope of salvation, in that if she were to marry one of the Cotton brothers, then all their problems would be solved.
What ensues is a love mix up of dramatic, comedic and heartbreaking proportions. Consequently this stirs up all the unaddressed issues that Cassandra has with her father, forcing them into a confrontation. Ultimately though the truth always comes out, as Cassandra finds out for herself.
Newcomer Romola Garai’s performance was brilliant, perfectly capturing the innocence yet maturity of a 17 year-old teenager. Likewise Rose Byrne gives all the passion to her character that is needed as Bill Nighy does in his frustrated, frightened role. Tara Fitzgerald and Sinead Cusack are great as always at playing the characters not themselves, while Marc Blucas and Henry Thomas both give very good and solid performances.
Making his feature directorial debut, Tim Fywell’s directing is absolutely brilliant, driving and moulding the film together perfectly with the help of Oscar winning-producer David Parfitt.
All in all this film is an excellent love drama/comedy that is definitely worth the trip to the cinema.