I Capture the Castle (2003)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  8 August 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 5,437 users   Metascore: 63/100
Reviews: 65 user | 59 critic | 29 from Metacritic.com

A love story set in 1930s England that follows 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain, and the fortunes of her eccentric family, struggling to survive in a decaying English castle.



(novel), (screenplay)
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2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sophie Stuckey ...
Cassandra - aged 7
Helena Little ...
Florence Jones ...
Rose (aged 10)
Harrison Ward ...
Topaz Mortmain
Joe Sowerbutts ...
Aubrey Fox-Cotton
Sarah Woodward ...
Leda Fox-Cotton


The film follows 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain, and the fortunes of her eccentric family, struggling to survive in a decaying English castle. Her father is desperate to repeat the spectacular success of his first novel, but hasn't written a word for 12 years; her exquisite sister Rose can only rail against their fate, and their Bohemian step-mother Topaz is a nudist and no help at all. Salvation comes in the form of their American landlord Simon Cotton and his brother Neil. Although initially repelled by Simon, Rose is determined to make him fall in love with her and succeeds. A wedding is arranged and Cassandra is left on the sidelines as everyone around her is drawn into a maelstrom of interconnected relationships. But events spiral out of control, and before the summer ends she will experience frustrated desire, first love, and a broken heart. Written by <l_wuisan@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


You can't choose who you fall in love with. See more »


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

8 August 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aihmaloti kardia  »

Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£138,142 (UK) (9 May 2003)


$1,174,139 (USA) (26 September 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This movie is supposedly set in Suffolk; Henry Cavill later starred as the Duke of Suffolk in The Tudors. See more »


When Simon is drinking his tea in the first shot, he receives the cup with his right hand and then turns the handle to actually drink with his left. The handle switches back and forth in subsequent shots. See more »


[first lines]
Cassandra: I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.
See more »


References Pride and Prejudice (1995) See more »


Stompin' At The Savoy
Performed by Benny Goodman and His Orchestra (as Benny Goodman & His Orchestra)
Written by Edgar M. Sampson (as Sampson), Chick Webb (as Webb) & Benny Goodman (as Goodman)
Published by EMI United Partnership Ltd
Mater Recording courtesy of Living Era
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Romola Garai illuminates the screen and story
13 May 2003 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

This film is just begging for the tag 'Charmingly eccentric 30s romantic drama', complete as it is with Empire line dresses, stunning countryside locations and a whimsical, bickering family. However it's the performance of the divine Romola Garai, as the middle child Cassandra, that really makes this film work. Bereft of makeup and hair shorn to an unflattering bob, constantly scribbling in her diary, she is the embodiment of the intellectual teen; her capacity for articulating cascading emotions seeing her forming a passionate bond with the written word. But her ongoing contemplation of her madcap family is born of concern rather than self-obsession. In the absence of their mother, Cassandara has begun to shoulder some of the responsibility for her brother, precocious and emotionally catatonic father. Her burdens are increased rather than lessened with the arrival of a pair of rich Americans, and the romance that ensues. The way Garai indicates Charlotte's confused emotions - torn between different impulses that propel her towards being a daughter, a sister and a lover - is remarkable. While Garai occupies the center of the film, some of the other players shine in their roles, especially the always entertaining (and perpetually unclothed, yes, she's naked again here!) Tara Fitzgerald and the lovely Rose Byrne as Cassandra's elder sister Rose. The men fare less well. Bill Nighy is miscast as the reclusive writer father, and Henry Cavill as Casandara's would-be beau Stephen is leaden. The other failing of the film - which is really more of a backhanded compliment - is that I found myself wanting to know more about the family and see more of their infighting. The plot errs towards the romantic rather than the comic (OK, fair enough, that's what it sets out to do) but I found the end result a little disappointing. I haven't read Dodie Smith's novel so don't know whether the slightly muted tone is due to allegience to the original story. Overall though, "I capture the castle" is sweetly and undemandingly entertaining, and Romola Garai's vulnerability is intoxicating.

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