The Duchess (Based on Amanda Foreman's Biorgraphy Georgina Duchess of Devonshire)
Director: Saul Dibb
Cast: Keira Knightly (Georgina The Duchess of Devonshire), Ralph Finnes (The Duke of Devonshire), Charlotte Rampling (Lady Spencer), Dominic Cooper (Charles Grey), Hayley Attwell (Elizabeth Foster)
Screenplay: Jeffrey Hatcher and Anders Thomas Jensen
Length: 1 hr. 45 min.
Rated: PG-13 (Lots of Period componets here, mostly sex. You know what I'm talking about.)
This biopic is based on the cliche, based-on-a-true-story-about-a-rich-aristocratic-woman-who-falls-in-a-loveless-marriage type story. Sounds familliar? Sure. We've heard that story all before. Not to say it's a total cliche it is a Keira Knightly period drama after all. Now I know some of you must be groaning but this is better than those period movies. Does that mean it's something original and fresh? Absolutely not. It's striking to look at, but sometimes, it feels really tiresome and long.
Now grant you Keira Knightly is amazing. The only thing really original about this movie is the fact that the movie looks at the life of a celebrity as her character was known back in eighteenth century England. And Keira just pulls it off so well and Ralph Finnes, who plays her cold-hearted devil of a husband (uh oh yes the movie goes in THAT territory) gives his character a heart, which is kind of hard to do it right. But he does, and the acting is one of the reasons that I'm recomending this movie. It's nice to look at somebody that not a lot of people know outside of England, looking at the world of celebrity. I don't know how historically accurate this movie is, Hollywood tends to play around with historical accuracy but the clothing and whatnot don't seem out of place so I don't see any problem there.
My main problem here, was with plot. First, it drags for long, long periods of time. At the end of the movie I thought I had wasted my whole afternoon watching a fluffy period drama. There were some characters at the end that I wanted to see more of, including Dominic Cooper's character as her lover. And yes, I had a problem with the rape scene (imagine that...) in this movie. Directors want to make us feel so sympathetic to the main character, that they go out of their way and make a rape scene to feel sorry for the poor woman because that's how women were treated back then yay! Complete failure. Also a complete failure? The sex scenes. Now I know, there were only two and one wasn't even all that graphic, but the same thing with Dominc Cooper and Keira Knightly, they do not have chemistry. We have to make graphic sex scenes when we don't need them, and what's worse, they're badly mishandled. Ugh, I wish every movie was like Bright Star...
So, should you run out and immediately put this DVD in your Que at Netflix or run out to Blockbuster or wherever and see this movie? Not really. However, it is one of the better period films beating The Other Boleyn Girl by a longshot. This isn't anything HUGELY special though, so if you have a few minutes and happened to pass by Blockbuster on your way home sure, it's a nice pick me up if you're feeling bored and sorry for yourself.