The trailer for the new film of Brideshead Revisited does not, I fear, fill me with hope. It appears to be dominated by Emma Thompson’s Lady Marchmain, by raging passions, and by, um, a score heavy on the drums and electric guitar. It has admittedly been a while since I read the book, or saw the wonderful 1981 miniseries, but if I recall correctly the dominant themes were not so much passion and controlling mothers as change, decay, and the passing of old ways. And a certain amount of Catholic guilt.
The trailer is also completely devoid of humor, which is barely conceivable in anything adapted from a book by Evelyn Waugh, one of the funniest writers in the English language. Brideshead Revisited might not be the vicious satire of Scoop or Vile Bodies, but it’s hardly humorless.
But I’m sure I’ll see the movie anyway (although frankly I thought it sounded more interesting when the cast was to include Jude Law, Paul Bettany, and Jennifer Connelly). Trailers don’t necessarily have much to do with their movies (see these examples!), and in this case admittedly Emma Thompson is the marquee star, passion is more interesting to most people than decay, and, well, actually I can’t explain the guitar.