Warning: If you haven't seen the movie yet, there are potential spoilers, so proceed with caution.
Guillermo Del Toro's gothic romance film Crimson Peak is nothing short of beautiful. It tells the story of a young aspiring novelist Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) who can communicate with ghosts. Edith falls for the dashing, ambitious, and probably the most charming gentleman ever, the baronet Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston).
The theatrical trailer reveals the important things to know about each of the three main characters' personalities. Edith is intelligent and observant, but she's quite naive. At first, she's clouded with suffocating obliviousness and optimism - although she doesn't have a weak character. Her youth and (mostly) untainted mind is what made her prey to the deceit of the Sharpes.
Lady Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain) as judged by Edith's father, is the stronger one of the siblings. She's also cunning and manipulative and will stop at nothing to get what she wants. She has a troubled mind and is very, very possessive.
Lastly, Thomas Sharpe. Though he was the one who chose Edith (despite his sister's apprehension), when he could finally see the world without his dark-tainted glasses, he began to see the error in his actions and wants to start anew. To be honest, I think he just chose Edith to spite her father and his sister - and probably branch out a bit.
Why is Thomas Sharpe the most sympathetic character you say? Here are 5 reasons why.
5. He was hardworking, but nobody wanted to give him a chance.
Perhaps 'twas only Edith who saw the potential of his inventions. Though Edith's father called Thomas' mini-prototype of clay miner a 'toy', it proved that it could be something profitable because Thomas actually made it work. He's been to several European countries, and his last stop was America to seek investors, but Edith's father, a wealthy businessman, didn't even give him a chance. To be honest, the Sharpes probably wouldn't resort to what they did to Edith, had her father not been so condescending.
4. He wasn't raised properly.
Technically, he wouldn't turn out to be a fine-mannered man if he wasn't raised properly, but he lacked the love and guidance of real parents. All he had was his sister, and even in their adolescence, they were apart. He was sent to a boarding school at 12 years old, and Lucille was sent to an institution in Switzerland.
Boarding schools have strict rules, and without both his parents, heaven knows what these Sharpe siblings had to deal with.
3. He became the provider at such an early age.
Though Edith lost her mother early on, and much later in life, her father... She was raised well, she was educated, and most of all - they were rich. The Sharpes were rich too. But when nobody was there to maintain their land and properties, of course it depreciated and the Sharpes became virtually penniless. Thomas inherited Allerdale Hall, but how much does he really know about maintaining properties? Their roof even had a hole!
The way I interpret it, whilst the siblings were away for their studies, all their cash was used for their upbringing. Thus when it was finally time to go back home -they had no savings left. Also, one of them needed a more expensive treatment. Good thing Thomas knows how to tinker and make stuff, and somehow they were able to cope. The mismanagement of their finances was their primary motivation for doing what they did.
2. He had a psychotic sister
Perhaps this is the biggest spoiler in this post. His sister was psychotic. She was the reason why all the darned things happened to them, and the sole reason why Thomas couldn't set foot in the present without looking back in the past. They only had each other (that is, after she murdered their mother) and thus, what more could he do? He couldn't live with his sister alone, could he? They only had each other and he was afraid to lose her too - as he had his parents.
1. He was manipulated all his life
If you clicked on the spoiler, this is a no-brainer for you. His sister described him as a perfect child. He probably looked like a cherub and could charm anyone even when he was little. And for this reason, his psychotic sister Lucille lusted after her brother. What she calls love isn't love. Lucille gave limitations to Thomas and because of this, he wasn't able to branch out and grow up healthy and properly. It was no wonder why he said these lines to Edith:
... The aches that you describe with such earnestness, the pain, the loss. You clearly have not lived it at all. In fact, you only seem to know what other writers tell.
Although even Lucille hated Edith's work, Thomas was right - and he was also describing himself more than the novel. He has lived the pain, and still continues to do so, because he couldn't just let go.
You insist on describing the torments of love when you clearly know NOTHING about them. I'M NOT DONE YET! What do you dream on? A kind man?A pure soul to be redeemed? Affection? Affection has no place in love, Edith. I advise you to return to your ghosts and fancies, the sooner the better. You know precious little about the human heart or love or the pain that comes with. You are nothing but a SPOILED CHILD!
He said scathing words because he had not been able to experience being free just like Edith. He wasn't able to experience love - real love because Lucille made it clear to him that he can't fall in love with anyone else. Thomas and Lucille are two adults in a consensual relationship, but he had been manipulated probably since both he and Lucille were old enough to tattle. I partially blame their parents for not spending quality time with them and left the children to their own devices (if what Lucille said about their mother is to be believed).
The only 'love' he knew was the monstrous kind of love. This is not true love because love doesn't turn people into monsters. Only Lucille seemed to be convinced that their relationship was healthy, and that they must do their insane modus operandi in order to survive this harsh and cruel world.
All is fair in love and war, and Thomas was in the middle of it.
Towards the end of the movie, he was already in love with Edith, thus he just earned himself a death sentence in his war with his sister. His act of true love redeemed his character. Because in truth, he was a good man who bad things have happened to.
In the end, Thomas was able to let go and move on to the afterlife. And Lucille - she has become the moth that feeds on darkness and lurks in Allerdale Hall, ghastly and in miserable solitude.
Do you think Thomas Sharpe was the most sympathetic character in Crimson Peak?
Don't miss a chance to visit it - Crimson Peak is still showing in theaters near you.