Money, and the power and control that come with it, cast a long shadow over nearly every character in I Capture The Castle, veteran television director Tim Fywell's adaptation of a novel by 101 Dalmatians author Dodie Smith. The film opens in a haze of dewy nostalgia, as protagonist/narrator Romola Garai recalls the blissful time when her once-revered novelist father (Bill Nighy) decided to move the family into a castle. A decade later, the decaying, rat-infested place is more Grey Gardens than Camelot: The rent hasn't been paid in years, and tormented drinker Nighy is suffering through a marathon dry spell he's not sure he'll ever break. But salvation arrives in the form of new American landlords Henry Thomas and Marc Blucas, strapping young men who are intrigued by Garai and her beautiful sister, Rose Byrne, who hungrily eyes Thomas as her ticket out of the family's colorful poverty. Byrne succeeds in winning a marriage proposal from the bookish Thomas, but Garai is also attracted to him, albeit for less mercenary reasons. I Capture The Castle's engaging (if glib) first half is underpinned by a refreshingly blunt sense of class consciousness and financial desperation, which helps offset the film's sentimental streak. Garai's flowery, overwritten narration proves irritating in the movie's first half, then unfortunately sets the tone for a fatal second-half descent into soap operatics, dippy dialogue, and airless melodrama. A lack of chemistry between the romantic leads doesn't help: Garai seems more in love with her own hyperbolic prose and fevered imagination than with Thomas, whose good-hearted scholar does little to inspire such outsized romanticism. As the film lumbers its way toward an unsatisfying conclusion, Dario Marianelli's constantly swelling score kicks into overdrive, constantly trying to fake the grand emotions and delirious romantic intensity that the clumsy, flat-footed film fails to achieve organically.