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An overloaded script by Heidi Thomas (from a novel by Dodie Smith) defeats a fine cast that includes Bill Nighy (Love Actually) as a gloomy novelist who lives in a rented castle with his family and a bad case of writer's block; Rose Byrne as his flame-haired, gold-digging elder daughter, who'll do anything to get past the battlements; and Romola Garai as his younger daughter, who can't understand love relationships. After two rich American brothers (Henry Thomas, Marc Blucas) arrive to announce they've taken ownership of the castle, unrequited love permeates the estate like creeping damp. But there are excellent moments early on when the rich and poor families meet—principally at a large party where the imperious hostess (Sinead Cusack) humiliates Nighy for his artistic impotence. Tim Fywell directed. 113 min.

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