I Capture the Castle
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In the sea of cliché, cookie-cutter chick flicks that make their way into the theaters every year, very few really stand out as being something worth watching. And even less stand out as being something memorable—something worth watching again. But I Capture the Castle is one of the exceptions to the rule. It’s beautiful and romantic and funny and different—and it’s worth watching.


Seventeen-year-old Cassandra Mortmain (Romola Garai) records everything in her beloved journal. She writes down all of her thoughts and feelings—and she writes about her family. Her stepmother, Topaz (Tara Fitzgerald), is an artist and a nudist. Her older sister, Rose (Rose Byrne), is beautiful and shallow, and her only goal in life is to marry rich. And her father (Bill Nighy) is the author of the critically-acclaimed novel, Jacob Wrestling—but now he spends his time locked in a room, reading mystery novels. He hasn’t written a word in twelve years, and they haven’t been able to pay the rent on their run-down castle in ages.

The Mortmains’ quiet life at the castle changes, however, when their new landlord, Simon Cotton (Henry Thomas), arrives from America with his brother, Neil (Marc Blucas). Instantly attracted to Simon’s wealth—and the pretty peach towels that his mother keeps in their bathroom—Rose decides that she’s going to marry him. But the Mortmain sisters soon discover that you can’t choose who you love.

I Capture the Castle is a truly beautiful—and still truly funny—film that successfully manages to be both dramatic and comedic without feeling disjointed. The story itself is a little bit like Sixteen Candles. It’s a coming-of-age story, told from the point-of-view of the younger sister who’s quietly standing in the shadows. At the same time, it has the sophistication of an Audrey Hepburn classic. The pastoral setting and overall tone are reminiscent of something based on a Jane Austen novel (like Emma or Sense and Sensibility)—yet without being syrupy or pretentious.

For those of you who have read the book, however, a word of caution: I loved this movie, but I didn’t read the book first. If you do choose to see it, keep an open mind—remember that it’s impossible to fit every glorious detail of a 300-page book into a movie, and often filmmakers take a few liberties.

For the rest of you, no word of caution is necessary. I couldn’t recommend I Capture the Castle any more strongly. Don’t miss it.

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