Film Review: Crimson Peak 

It’s not you, Guillermo del Toro. It’s me.

My dearest Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston),

It is with heavy heart that I must inform you that I, your wife, am leaving your ancestral home of Allerdale Hall, aka Crimson Peak, and filing for divorce. This may come as a shock to you, but I now think the dissolution of our relationship was inevitable from the start. Maybe when my mother came back from the grave as a hideous ghost and hissed "Beware of Crimson Peak!", I should have listened to her. Maybe I should have noticed that you look and act just like the evil Norse trickster god Loki. Maybe I missed another opportunity to avert relationship disaster when my rich father Carter Cushing (Jim Beaver) tried to bribe you into leaving the country. But he was such a terrible actor that I was almost relieved when he died under mysterious circumstances. And besides, you needed his considerable fortune to finish the construction of your steampunk machine that will bring the red clay mines underneath your estate back to profitability.

click to enlarge Mia Wasikowska in Crimson Peak
  • Mia Wasikowska in Crimson Peak

Come to think of it, the weird scheme to create an automated clay-mining machine should have been another red flag. Is there really a huge market for gooey red clay that looks like fake blood? Maybe you could have put that money into fixing up the house instead. I mean, come on. There's a giant hole in the roof where the rain and snow come in and cascade down into the central stairwell. Sure, it makes for a dramatic scene, and the soft snowdrift did save my life when your sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) tried to kill me, but it's way past time to put a tarp on it. Between that, the walls that drip blood all the time, and the small army of ghosts that roam the halls (but never have much of an effect on the plot), my lawyer is going to have no trouble convincing the judge that you are forcing me to live in unacceptable conditions.

And then there's your sister. Lucille is always smiling and courteous to my face, but I get the sense that she's plotting against me. Perhaps it's because of the similarities between our relationship and the one between Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains' mother in the 1946 Alfred Hitchcock film Notorious, what with the poison in the tea and the purloined key and the basement full of secrets and whatnot. But the year is 1901, which means Hitch is just 2 years old and films with actual plots are only now being invented, so you can understand how I would have missed those particular red flags. I guess you live and learn.

I admit I share some of the blame for this fiasco. I guess I was blinded by the splendor of all those puffy-sleeved silk organza nightgowns and crushed velvet top hats. But frankly, my dear Thomas, there are so many holes in our story, I just don't think it's salvageable. So we must go our separate ways and hope that next time, director Guillermo del Toro can conjure up a more coherent world for us to live in.


Edith Cushing Sharpe (Mia Wasikowska)

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