I am a huge fan of the Bruce Tarkington book from which this film was made, and this is my major problem with this film. If you have never read the book you will probably like it much more than I did. I am not a particularly huge fan of Orson Welles, but I did love his version of this because it captured the spirit of the book so perfectly. Having read that the idea of this was to fill in the gaps left by excessive editing of the Welles version, and made from his detailed screenplay, I was actually quite excited to see it. How disappointing. Yes some of the missing scenes have been put back in, but then some of the original ones have been removed or needlessly changed, and the speech annoyingly modernised. Most importantly the commentary, which Welles must have wanted in the film since he voiced it, was missing, along with the wonderful, opening sequence of his film setting the scene,(which is taken straight from the book). To me, at any rate, the whole point of the story is the change of the quiet elegant town of the 19th century into the heaving dirty city of the 20th century and along with it the changing fortunes of the Ambersons and their kind. The townspeople so wanting George to get his comeupance and him eventually getting it, "three times filled and overflowing", before he redeems himself, was the most moving part of the plot and a gaping omission from this film.
I thought the cast were all very good, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Madeleine Stowe in particular were perfect. The sets were good, although not as good as the original, but the atmosphere of the book was lost.