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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
Manorbier Castle in Tenby, Wales, which was used for many of the shots of the Mortmain family's castle, had a moat that had not been used for many years. For the shots of Cassandra and Neil swimming in the moat, large amounts of clay were brought in to make the moat watertight. It was then filled from tankers of water brought from elsewhere, because the local water supply could not supply the large amount needed. See more »
Rose sends Cassandra a bottle of what appears to be Penhaligon's Bluebell perfume for her 18th birthday. According to the Penhaligon's website, the Bluebell perfume was first manufactured in 1978, whereas the film takes place around the early 1940s. See more »
I do not know why but periodic films always get me and leave me in awe. I Capture the Castle does leave me in awe and also leaves me with the warm feeling of satisfaction.
Cassandra Mortmain (brilliantly potrayed by Romola Garai -also known for her television works, most prominently Attachments-) moved from London to a countryside castle with her family when she was young. Reason being for the move is that her father (Bill Nighy); an author made famous by his first bestseller, wanted to stimulate his creative juices to write another novel. Unfortunately, it has been 12 years since he has written anything and this has affected the Mortmain family financially. Cassandra's older sister Rose, laments about this and wishes to escape from the deepening poverty they are enduring.
This changed however with the arrival of two american brothers; Simon (Henry Thomas) and Neil Cotton (Mark Blucas). Simon is the new landlord of the land that the Mortmains are renting. Their arrival has stimulated the emotions of curiosity, lust and love in those two girls. Rose, although initially wary of Simon is soon smitten by him and has agreed to marry Simon. From that point (for which I shall not spoil), we see Cassandra drawn into the centre of interwoven relationships. Some twists did occur although not very suprising, neither are they predictable.
Having seen Romola Garai's acting in Attachments, I find her underused in the television series. In Castle, she gives a colourful range of emotions. From what I can tell, the sadness or the joy is as real as it is. Another thing is that her narration (also written in the journal she writes in the movie) interspersed in most of the scenes, gives the audience an insight to her feelings and her deepest fears. I feel that there is more to come from this talented young actress and hopefully it will be good.
Another thing to note is the recreation of 1930's England. Brilliant, glamorous are in the dinner scenes, the girls trip to a London department store and the dance clubs. Quaint are the scenes in the countryside and also the gloominess from the weather. Humour? There are with Thomas Mortmain and Topaz Mortmain (delightfully played by Tara Fiztgerald; loved her 1930's 'hippie' bohemian act) supplying the punchlines and the laughter.
With all the side stories aside, I feel Castle was meant for audiences to see Cassandra's coming of age and how she deals with the plethora of emotions that hits her. I just left the cinema feeling warmly satisfied but with a tinge of sadness.
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