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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pretty darn good.
Dodie Smith's "I Capture The Castle" has to be one of my favourite books of all time, and so naturally I was a bit sceptical when the film was made. To be fair, no adaptation of it is going to measure up to the book, simply because Dodie Smith's prose is so beautiful, detailed and involving, but this stays remarkably faithful to the book, I'm very glad to say...
Published on 11 Feb 2004 by S. Hapgood

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wounded Butterfly
I checked this DVD out of the library, largely on the strength of the cast, as I enjoyed Romola Garai in "The Hour", and I always enjoy Bill Nighy, who, in this film, turns in a powerful, if exasperating, performance as the has-been novelist. I was unaware of the book, which so many reviewers have praised, and I must say that the film, although lovely to look at and...
Published on 22 Mar 2012 by F. S. L'hoir


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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pretty darn good., 11 Feb 2004
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S. Hapgood "www.sjhstrangetales.com" - See all my reviews
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Dodie Smith's "I Capture The Castle" has to be one of my favourite books of all time, and so naturally I was a bit sceptical when the film was made. To be fair, no adaptation of it is going to measure up to the book, simply because Dodie Smith's prose is so beautiful, detailed and involving, but this stays remarkably faithful to the book, I'm very glad to say. Understandably some things had to be left out, which robs the film of the magic the book had, but there's no way they could have got round that, unless they'd made the film about 6 hours long!
Bill Nighy is first-rate as Cassandra's cantankerous father, an author who wrote a ground-breaking experimental novel 12 years before but hasn't written a word since, forcing his family to end up living in extreme poverty in a crumbling ruin of a castle. At first I didn't take to Tara Fitzgerald's version of Topaz. I felt she was too cynical and brittle, as after all the adorable Topaz (one of my very favourite characters in fiction) is an incurable romantic, but she grew on me, and eventually I could see that she was simply bringing out Topaz's practical side more. The two girls playing Rose (who yearns for "a little black suit with matching suede accessories", and peach-coloured towels in her bathroom) and Cassandra are also well-cast and play their characters with great commitment. And I'm glad more was done with Thomas, the bespectacled, academic little brother. In the book he often comes across as the only member of the family with any clear idea of what's going on everywhere, and they've brought this out in the film.
The castle itself was a bit disappointing, looking sometimes like left-over sets from the BBC's "Gormenghast" series. In the book it seems almost like a real place, it's so vivid, but here it seemed more like the setting for a fantasy film, all blurred around the edges. But that's a small criticism really. I feel this was always going to be a difficult one to film, but they've done a pretty good job here. Highly recommended, especially if you're a big romantic at heart.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best films I have ever seen, 4 Nov 2006
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S. Hammond "bidders86" (Oxfordshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I Capture the Castle [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
I first saw this film on television during Christmas 2004 and instantly fell in love with it. The storyline focuses on the charming, deeply eccentric and penniless Mortmain family, in particular, the progress of the two loveable but different sisters, Cassandra and Rose.

Rarely, the whole cast is perfect- it is impossible to do each character justice in this review, but suffice it to say that Romola Garai charms as Cassandra, Bill Nighy and Tara Fitzgerald give excellent performances as respectively troubled and bohemian James and Topaz Mortmain. Importantly, the relationships between the characters are both convinving and touching.

It also deserves to be said that this adaptation is filmed beautifully, the script is sensitively executed and the soundtrack is delightful.

I can understand that a film that focuses on a rather eccentric 1930s family and explores first love is not going to appeal to everyone, but if you like heartwarming, intelligent family drama then this is a must see.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I am never going to fall in love. Life is dangerous enough", 27 July 2005
This review is from: I Capture the Castle [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Based on a British novel by Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle is an absolutely marvelous exploration of teenage love and mismatched romance. Beautifully filmed, subtly acted, and charming from beginning to end, this film is touching, funny, romantic, perceptive, and full of color, verve, and character. And the film also brings 1930's England to life like no other film has managed to do in recent years.
I Capture the Castle is narrated in the first person by seventeen-year-old Cassandra (Romola Garai). Cassandra is a dreamy and wistful kind of girl who obsessively writes in her dairy and possesses a vivid romantic imagination. Cassandra is the younger sister of the flighty and more beautiful redheaded Rose (Rose Byrne). It's 1936, and they live in a crumbling, leaky, and cold rural English castle that James (Bill Nighy), their novelist dad has leased to inspire his next masterpiece.
Bad times have recently fallen on the family. Due to an accident that involved their mother, James now suffers writers block and has become a seedy, lanky, and desperate-looking man. He scored a brilliant success 20 years ago with his first novel, but now he's been artistically silent and fallow ever since, a pale shadow of what he once was. The family indulges him, hoping against hope that he'll eventually find artistic inspiration, while they try desperately to eke out a miserly and penny-pinching living.
The girls, especially Rose, despair about escaping their dank, dreary world. Only kid brother Thomas (Joe Sowerbutts) is untroubled by the family's debt and decay. Thankfully, Rose finally sees a way to escape her parsimonious existence, when two wealthy and handsome American brothers arrive at the castle to claim their inheritance.
Hardy, butch, and blustery Neil (Marc Blucas) is distrustful of the family's neediness, and views both Rose and Cassandra as gold diggers, while the earnest, bookish, and more sensitive Simon (Henry Thomas) soon falls for the money-hungry Rose. Simon also has eyes for Cassandra, as does Stephen (Henry Cavill), a handsome and sexy farmhand. Watching over the proceedings is the flamboyant Mrs. Cotton, the boys' wealthy, chic mother (played by the wonderful Sinead Cusack).
As the story unfolds, the lovely and naïve Cassandra finds herself getting caught in the middle of smoldering passions and misguided romance. She's never quite certain what or whom she wants and spends her days trying to decide within her heart what she should do. Should she admit her feelings to Simon who is still smitten with Rose, or should she commit to Stephen who has always harbored a secret desire for her?
Unlike her radiant but avaricious sister Rose - who is faced with a character-defining choice between love and money, and chooses money - Cassandra at least grasps the countless value of the former, whose heartbreak always can be tempered by hope. For Cassandra, true Love is a risky, and unpredictable endeavor and almost always illusive.
I Capture the Castle is British film making at its best. With director, Tim Fywell, gently and tenderly transporting us to the genteel era of prewar England. Even the story's very discretion is appealing. We know that sex is going on and fueling the action, but it's mostly hidden from our view and only strategically hinted at.
But what makes this film really shine are the actors. Filled with pretty people - Blucas, Cavill, and Thomas are especially attractive; it's actually the appealing young actresses who play Rose and Cassandra who really steal the film. Like delicate English roses they constantly light up the screen, one as sturdy and as robust as the earth, and the other, in love with love, unapologetically obsessed with dreams of money and wealth. Mike Leonard July 05.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you've read the book, you HAVE to see this film!, 7 Jan 2004
This review is from: I Capture the Castle [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
I fell totally in love with the book from the first time I read it,so I was really looking forward to the film coming out. And I found that it was just as beautiful as the book,the stars the producers choose were exactly like I had seen them in the book, Ramola Garai(Cassandra) was so totally perfect in the role! Bill Nighy(her father) was excellent and so were all of the characters. The music as well,I really loved. My whole family really enjoyed this film because it is just such a beautiful film,it is very funny,sad and bittersweet. An total must see for anyone!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wounded Butterfly, 22 Mar 2012
By 
F. S. L'hoir (Irvine, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I Capture the Castle [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
I checked this DVD out of the library, largely on the strength of the cast, as I enjoyed Romola Garai in "The Hour", and I always enjoy Bill Nighy, who, in this film, turns in a powerful, if exasperating, performance as the has-been novelist. I was unaware of the book, which so many reviewers have praised, and I must say that the film, although lovely to look at and lyrically acted, would, in itself, not have inspired me to read it.

I found the movie curiously static and slightly uncomfortable in its uncompromising portrayal of a family on the perpetual verge of deterioration, due to what must be--although it is never stated outright--the father's chronic depression. It was as if the castle, into which the father had, ten years previously, moved his brood--ostensibly to ignite his literary spark--had entrapped the entire family into a life sentence of despair, from which there was no foreseeable parole. I was not sure I wanted to spend my evening with them; and the rather convenient solution to their problems--as depicted in the film--failed to convince me. Furthermore, the flashbacks did not always clarify the scenario, although the dream sequences in the imaginings of Cassandra were quite lovely.

Director Tim Fywell, whose "Cambridge Spies" is one of my favourite television dramas, did not seem able to pull this story together, although it was full of what might have become magical moments, with thought and a perhaps some pacing in respect to the scenario. And the performances--Garai as Cassandra; the young woman, who played her sister Rose; Tara Fitzgerald, as the former artist's model and author's muse; the little boy who played the brother; and, of course, Nighy, were outstanding.

Watching the film was rather like watching a beautiful butterfly with damaged wings, fluttering, but not quite able to lift off and rise into the air. Rather sad, because what could have been a captivating film simply didn't realise its full potential.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old-fashioned love, 10 April 2004
This review is from: I Capture the Castle [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
The story of an eccentric and impoverished family, whose social opportunities and income are suffering due to father's extreme case of writer's block. The practical solution of the 'consciously naive' daughters is to secure marriage to a wealthy man. The ensuing tale is of entrapment, gold-digging, elopment, and desperately unrequited love.
The film moves at a very gentle pace, reflecting the slow intensity of emotions and life of the 30s, and the sheltered experience of the two sisters. As the emotions build, I foind their story very absorbing, funny, and moving. Love is an uncontrollable external force that brings as much heartache as happiness. The characters are totally at the mercy of cupid's arrow; despite their best efforts to take control of their lives, love is what defines them in the end.
The film is beautiful to look at, in scenes, costumes and acting. The sisters' characters and plight are convincing, often more frustrating than entirely agreeable. It is well worth watching and even revisiting for its old-fashioned approach to young love and awakening. I really enjoyed it!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars magnificantly wonderful, 12 Feb 2004
This review is from: I Capture the Castle [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Those having read the novel, and indeed those who haven't will, on ending the film feel positively moved. The story beautifully depicts the novel and the actors bring light and depth into the much loved characters from the book, especially the new-found talent of Romola Garai who magnificantly portrays the tenderness and angst of the lead role Cassandra. The score and the setting of the film are timeless, also and are definitely worth a mention. From start to finish you will be enthralled in this magical tale of family, growing up and of course, love.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I capture the castle, 20 Mar 2004
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H. Lacroix (France) - See all my reviews
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I really enjoyed that film. The actors are tremendous. I was particularly taken with Romola Garai who plays Cassandra.
It is a romantic film, true, but with none of the silliness usually associated with them.Feelings ring true, pain seems real and that story of first love is as moving as can be.It is a feel-good film which never insults the viewer's intelligence.
I recommend it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant., 18 May 2014
By 
David H J Ashdown (Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I Capture the Castle [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Novelist ( Bill Nighy ) moves his family into a ramshackle castle in the hope of inspiration for his writing. Set in the 1930s this poignant film follows the ups and mostly downs of their experience of life in the castle until wealthy Americans move into the nearby manor house and become their landlords. The elder daughter Cassandra thinks the appearance of the Americans will solve all their monetary problems but Rose ( the younger daughter ) is not so sure. The ensuing farce is beautiful and sad at the same time - well worth watching especially as the acting is so much better than most mainstream films.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'll settle for the book, 28 Nov 2011
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This review is from: I Capture the Castle [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
This film was a disappointment after reading the book. Opportunities for light, humour seemed lost. I'm not too sure about the casting either - I would never have imagined Bill Nighy as the father, and this seemed born out by his playing of the role. So if you're interested in this story read the book in preference to watching the film!
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I Capture the Castle [DVD] [2003]
I Capture the Castle [DVD] [2003] by Tim Fywell (DVD - 2004)
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