Audiences want the My Cousin Rachel ending explained.
Audiences want the My Cousin Rachel ending explained in wake of it being shown on TV once again.
Lovers of literature will be all too familiar with the wonderful works of legendary English author Daphne du Maurier. Then again, film fanatics will surely recognise a wealth of her stories too…
The one and only Alfred Hitchcock directed numerous adaptations of her work, including the likes of The Birds, Rebecca, and Jamaica Inn. They were ripe for cinematic translation, and let’s face it, who better than Hitchcock? The first two efforts, in particular, are amongst the filmmaker’s most cherished and iconic offerings.
However, other notable adaptations of her novels include Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now and, of course, Roger Michell’s My Cousin Rachel.
The 2017 film is based on the 1951 book and stars Rachel Weisz (The Favourite) as the titular Rachel and Sam Claflin (Peaky Blinders) as protagonist Philip. It’s a terrific film with an ending demanding of discussion.
The ending of Roger Michell’s My Cousin Rachel
Philip and Rachel’s relationship takes a turn when he falls ill and suspects that the tea she serves him may be the cause of it all.
Although he had been convinced of her innocence involving Ambrose’s death throughout the narrative, he suddenly begins to have serious doubts.
In the last act, he encourages her to ride out on a trail which had proven treacherous earlier in the film. He watches her leave and quickly begins to search through her belongings alongside Louise for any evidence confirming his suspicions. However, they discover that it was actually Ambrose who was unfaithful, not Rachel.
This persuades him to consider her innocence again, but it’s too late… she dies in an accident on the path he urged her to travel.
Fast forward and he is married to Louise with children.
My Cousin Rachel ending explained
The ending of My Cousin Rachel is purposefully ambiguous.
In the end, after all those years he is still uncertain of Rachel’s innocence and his doubt haunts him like a ghost.
The novel similarly ends with her death but she calls him Ambrose just before passing away. With the film, the skip in time further reinforces the departing idea that Philip will never have closure. The truth dies with Rachel.
There are reasons to believe she was innocent but there’s absolutely no way to know for sure thanks to the seeds sewn throughout the story – the illness etc.
The ending is one which calls into question guilt and morality. Philip led Rachel to her death without being sure of her crimes and therefore deserves to be punished by uncertainty in her absence. By taking such spiteful and drastic action, the perceived roles of villain and victim are reversed. While the audience will never know that Rachel was in the wrong, we can now confirm – as a result of his actions – that Philip is. Our actions have consequences and unless we’re inquisitive rather than destructive we will never find peace.
Twitter reactions to My Cousin Rachel ending
Whether we’re talking the more recent film adaptation or the novel, the ending has impressed and intrigued so many since it materialised.
Of course, some have taken to twitter to praise or offer opinions on the ending of the story. Check out a selection below:
‘My cousin Rachel’ by Daphne du Maurier = total mind explosion. Did she? didn’t she? was she? wasn’t she? The ending makes you question all— Tess Rebekka (@TessRebekka) October 17, 2017
Just finished My Cousin Rachel. That ending! What a fantastic #DDMreadingweek I’ve had.— Nat Leach (@Gnatleech) May 19, 2019
Haha, I’d be hard pressed to choose! Both are so beautifully written. For me…hm…maybe ‘My Cousin Rachel’ because I thought the ending was astonishing and it stayed with me for days afterwards. I think du Maurier was one of the 20th century’s greatest writers.— wolfpaw (@wolfpaw_UK) January 24, 2020
In other news, Frances Barber joins The Split.