Sunday, September 28, 2008

Brideshead Revisited: Forget the Movie!

Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited is one of those overwhelming novels that has a point but does not hit you over the head with it. We are indeed sinners and yet God's grace can pierce our armor and cature our falty will.

It is a powerful novel and the language is beautiful. The BBC's miniseris adaptation of it for "the telley" drew widespread praise. Two of my favorite reviewers condemned the new movie version.

Barbara Nicolosi makes it sound like the San Francisco version of the book:

"How dare they.

"No, I mean really, how DARE they?! Imagine if someone did a new adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird and it ended up savagely racist? That's what they've done here. A profoundly Catholic novel, in this'adaptation', Brideshead Revisited is viciously anti-Catholic. They turned a movie about God and the soul, into a lurid love triangle between a homosexual, his sister and a hapless hunk. It's lame. It's bad."

Steven D. Greydanus writes a long and thoughtful review (originally for the National Catholic Register.) He ends his analysis: "Waugh wrote that Brideshead 'deals with what is theologically termed "the operation of Grace", that is to say, the unmerited and unilateral act of love by which God continually calls souls to Himself.' Grace may not be totally missing from the film version — the ending isn’t wholly betrayed — but however real it may be for the characters, there’s no sense that it feels real to the filmmakers, or the audience. It’s as if Waugh’s story has been filtered through the spiritual blindness of young Charles. The movie sees, but it doesn’t understand."

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