I watched Brideshead Revisited last weekend and then checked out the book from the library. I rarely do this - watch the movie first, read the novel second. Laura had seen the previews, however, and was interested, so I put it in our Netflix queue. I had heard vague charges of anti-Catholicism about the movie, but knew little of Waugh and less of his faith. I knew the book was supposed to have been borne out of his Catholicism, his being a convert, and after watching the movie, I knew that the film could not be a fair representation of his book. The movie is quite anti-Catholic, which is fine, if you don't mind the story saying the opposite thing the author meant for the story. One thing is sure, the book is profoundly Catholic, with an agnostic narrator, without feeling at all pushy or tract-like. It simply is the story of a family. It's not a story about being Catholic so much as it is a story of grace (which for some of us are the same thing). The movie, just as the book, is gorgeous, and received four stars from me for its luxuriousness. And what the movie could not do, and what a movie cannot do unless written to do so, is strip the mercy and grace intrinsic within characters simply because they are played by actors, by persons. There is sympathy or compassion there yet - an angel stirring the waters even though the angel was not welcome.
The novel is more glorious than the movie. I still found the film quite moving, however, though in a tragic sense rather than in the hope and grace that is impressed upon one while reading the novel. I would love to hear from those of you who have both read the book and seen the movie. What are your impressions? If you're not Catholic, what are your impressions of the novel? If you're unsympathetic to Catholicism, the movie will undoubtedly confirm your worser suspicions of our faith, as there are plenty of cliched Catholics present. Similar characters are also present in the book, but the difference in the book is that the book also has the real thing, and not just the cliche. But I need to re-read it to draw any better conclusions.
I also picked up The End of the Affair by Graham Greene from the library and am enjoying it now. I may say a word or two about it when I finish.