6.9/10
7,043
68 user 58 critic

I Capture the Castle (2003)

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2:13 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Tim Fywell

Writers:

Dodie Smith (novel), Heidi Thomas (screenplay)
2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Romola Garai ... Cassandra Mortmain
Sophie Stuckey ... Cassandra - aged 7
Bill Nighy ... James Mortmain
Helena Little Helena Little ... Mother
Florence Jones Florence Jones ... Rose (aged 10)
Harrison Ward Harrison Ward ... Thomas (aged 4)
Rose Byrne ... Rose Mortmain
Tara Fitzgerald ... Topaz Mortmain
Joe Sowerbutts ... Thomas
Henry Cavill ... Stephen Colley
Henry Thomas ... Simon Cotton
Marc Blucas ... Neil Cotton
David Bamber ... Vicar
James Faulkner ... Aubrey Fox-Cotton
Sarah Woodward ... Leda Fox-Cotton
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Castle used on location in this film was Manorbier Castle, Pembrokeshire, Wales, Great Britain; (but not the shots of the lone turret). Manorbier Castle was also used as location for the BBC adaptation of CS Lewis' "Prince Caspian" See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[first lines]
Cassandra: I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.
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Alternate Versions

A final scene after Cassandra's last line shows an older Cassandra carrying a portable typewriter and a manuscript envelope through a large city. She passes Simon in the street, and the two smile at one another before Cassandra turns away to enter a publisher's office. (This ending is an extra on the DVD version.) See more »

Connections

References Pride and Prejudice (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind
Music by Dario Marianelli
Lyrics by William Shakespeare
Published by Air-Edel Associates Ltd
Performed by Rose Byrne
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User Reviews

 
A Weird Family, Devilish Comedy, Roiling Drama
24 August 2003 | by lawprofSee all my reviews

How many viewers of "I Capture the Castle" have a legal background and understand the humor underlying the family name of the central characters, "Mortmain?" Literally, "mortmain" means "Dead Hand" and in law it denotes the attempt of a person to control his property postmortem. The humor here is that the paterfamilias, James Mortmain (well played by Bill Nighy) is a dried up author who hasn't penned a word since a successful novel of twelve years past. He claims to be working on a new book, an assertion that may be face-saving but is of dubious credibility. James has a past that the family neither wishes to remember nor can face seeing its reappearance (can't reveal what that is, can I?).

When still at the top of his game Mortmain and his then wife (who later dies, no foul play here) and his two little girls stumbled upon a rodent infested castle which he leased.

Jump quite a bit ahead to a now remarried Mortmain who lives in the still unrestored castle with his new, young, artist wife, Topaz (the beautiful, funny and accomplished Tara Fitzgerald) and his two teenage daughters, an appropriately mischievous little son and a sort of retainer in farm clothes, young Stephen.

The family is now, as the English say, "on their uppers."

Rose (Rose Byrne) is a gorgeous redhead solely obsessed with marrying out of the castle into the squirearchy or at least the solvent. Younger sister Cassandra (Ronola Garai) is engagingly wise, funny and bewildered at the changes that overtake her family when two young Americans succeed to the ownership of a manor that encompasses the castle (for which rent is long overdue). The sisters' close, interdependent relationship is warmly portrayed.

So Rose pursues one of the Americans, Cassandra deals with first love, spurning one suitor while secretly pining for another. An interweaved subplot has Topaz and then Cassandra desperately acting as James's muse, seeking to ignite what may well be the drenched sparks of a one-novel author.

As would be expected of a drama set in England in the 1930s before the hideousness of war returned are the inevitable class clashes, both economic and trans-Atlantic. What would a film like this be without a formal dining room scene replete with persiflage and the ominous threat of words said that can not be retracted?

"I Capture the Castle" has a strong cast but Cassandra is the centerpiece as she shows developing resolve and growth. Her appeal is irresistible. She's the younger sister many have fantasized but few have had. Ms. Garai is marvelously believable.

Yes, the film is in the Merchant/Ivory and Masterpiece Theatre vein but what's wrong with that? I liked most of the characters and rooted for calm but troubled Cassandra and frenetic but basically good Rose.

7/10.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official soundtrack site

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 August 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

I Capture the Castle See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$51,970, 13 July 2003

Gross USA:

$1,179,035

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,586,341
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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