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The Duchess [Blu-ray] [Blu-ray] (2008)
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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 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 lures for the principals. They prove the old movie adage: there's a lot to be said for eye candy. --Robert Horton
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Top Customer Reviews
Based on a true story, the movie highlights many events in Georgiana's that would later be repeated by her descendant, Princess Diana; Georgiana's husband was uninterested in her, cared only for an heir, and carried on an affair that lasted for 25 years. Also like Diana, Georgiana was the most important fashionista of her day, loved by the people, and the darling of the London gossip columnists.
Keira Knightly is perfect as the doomed Duchess; she gives a sensitive performance as Georgiana grows from spunky girl to political hostess to submissive wife. Ralph Fiennes plays the odious Duke masterfully. The exquisite costumes won an Academy Award and the grand English homes (including Chatsworth House where Georgiana lived with the Duke) are breathtaking. The atmospheric photography features golden candlelight and natural sunlight. This is everything a period drama should be - a riveting true story that's lovely to look at with flawless acting. Highly recommended.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
I bought this as a gift for my sister-in-law for christmas she loved it...so did I because the price was amazing on amazon :)Published on Jan. 29 2013 by Anotnietta D'Amore
the duchess is a film to watch if you like period films it also tells the story of the duchess of devershire it starts in 1774 when 17 year old gorgainna maries the duke of... Read morePublished on May 28 2010 by princess (brittany alexander)