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The Duchess

A 2008 film based on the life of an 18th-century English aristocrat starring Keira Knightley

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Let's give them something to talk about

  • Dec 19, 2008
  • by
Rating:
+4

Lady Spencer: All of London is talking.
Georgiana, The Duchess of Devonshire: Oh, let them talk!

 

 

Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):

 

1.   An arranged marriage to the older and wealthy Duke of Devonshire (Ralph Fiennes) made young Georgiana (Keira Knightley) a Duchess.

2.   Unfortunately, the Duke was a man of few words, and the job description for his wife included only three tasks – bear heir; look pretty; no talking.

3.   This did not sit well with the vivacious, articulate and charismatic Duchess, whose baby switch seemed set on pink instead of blue, and who had a natural flair for partying and politics

4.   Soon the Duke starts triangulating the relationship, and the Duchess retaliates with a bit of Earl Grey.

5.   Everyone lives scandalously ever after

 

Excellent acting performances are given by Fiennes and Knightley, as well as by the always impressive Charlotte Rampling (Lady Spencer, mother of Georgiana), Dominic Cooper (Earl Grey, also from Mamma Mia!) and Hayley Atwell (Bess Foster, really close friend of the Duke and Duchess)

 

The costumes and settings are breathtaking, and although somewhat lacking in depth, this movie adaptation of the life of Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire does not disappoint as pure entertainment.

 

 

 

Amanda Richards

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More The Duchess reviews
review by . January 25, 2009
The Duchess
The movie starts by claiming to be based on a true story. My history sucks so I'm not sure if it is or it isn't, but it's still an excellent film. Reviewer Terrance Allen called it a "Costume Drama", and his words are to the point and true. 'The Duchess' is a visual and audio array pleasing to the senses.     The year is 1774. Georgiana (Keira Knightly - King Arthur, Pirates Of The Caribbean) is to marry William, the Duke Of Devonshire (Ralph Fiennes). Lady Spencer (Charlotte …
review by . April 14, 2009
Watching "The Duchess" will most likely plant the thought that maybe Sofia Coppella should have directed this movie instead of "Marie Antoinette." It's not just that this is a better movie, but the themes of Georgiana's life seems more in line with the theme Coppella wanted to explore with Marie, but couldn't. I know I should try to reframe from comparing films to one another (and I should really make an effort not to open my reviews with them), but I bring this up now for those who simply want …
review by . April 03, 2009
DVD
The year is 1774, and 17-year old Georgiana hopes her marriage to the much older Duke of Devonshire will be a love match. Sadly, he's cold and distant and has a series of paramours, one of whom moves right into the family home with them.     Based on a true story, the movie highlights many parallels between Georgiana and her descendant, Princess Diana; Georgiana's husband cared only for an heir, was uninterested in her, and carried on an affair that lasted for 25 years. …
review by . December 04, 2008
The Duchess DVD
A sad testament to the rigors of 18th century English society and women's roles, The Duchess tells the story of Georgiana Spencer (Keira Knightly) and her marriage to the older Duke of Devonshire (Ralph Fiennes). The product of a society that relegates women to window dressing and child-bearing, at sixteen Georgiana is filled with romantic notions and little information about the demands of marriage. Frolicking with her companions on the lawn of her family's estate- including future prime minister …
About the reviewer
Amanda Richards ()
Ranked #38
I write reviews for a hobby. Most of my reviews are short and to the point, on account of my short attention span. I try to make my reviews both informative and entertaining, and sometimes I succeed. … more
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About this movie

Wiki

Starring Keira Knightly, Ralph Fiennes, Charlotte Rampling, Dominic Cooper
Directed By Saul Dibb
Written By Jeffrey Hatcher, Anders Thomas Jensen
2008

Amazon.com
Swaddled in whalebone and wigs, Keira Knightley steps into the restricted world of the Duchess of Devonshire, a royal lady popular with her subjects but stuck in an unhappy marriage. If this situation recalls Princess Diana (a descendent of the Duchess's family), so much the better for the purposes of director Saul Dibb and company; this film is eager to draw parallels with the unfortunate Lady Di, even if she is never directly mentioned. Knightley's unsuspecting girl is married off to the Duke (Ralph Fiennes), a distracted jerk who craves male sons, and obviously has never thought of women as anything other than a means to achieve an heir. When the Duchess launches her procreative career with a couple of daughters, well, the Duke begins to get nervous--and partners outside the marriage become increasingly appealing. The Duchess serves up lavish portions of Brit-movie staples: costumes (which, in Knightley's case, are nothing short of spectacular), landscapes,! and gorgeous music (by Rachel Portman). If it falls short in some vague way, perhaps it's because the film is a mostly one-note affair, meaning exactly what it seems to mean at every moment. Charlotte Rampling appears too briefly as Knightley's mother, and Dominic Cooper and Hayley Atwell (from Brideshead Revisited), rising stars both, contribute attractive ...
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Tags

Movies, Drama Movies, Drama, Historical Drama, Romantic Drama, Period Films, Kiera Knightley, Paramount, Period Drama, Costume Drama, Ralph Finnes, Duchess Of Devonshire

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