Saturday, August 4, 2012

Movie Review: The Duchess

Blurb: Set in the late Eighteenth Century, the story follows the life of Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire. While her beauty and fashion made her famous, extravagance and gambling made her infamous. She is married to the cold and much older William Cavendish, the 5th Duke of Devonshire. Despite the Duke's blatant infidelities, Georgiana becomes a fashion icon, a doting mother, a shrewd political operator, and darling of the common people. Reeling from her husband's affair with her best friend, Lady Bess Foster, Georgiana takes on her own lover, the future prime minister Charles Grey, with whom she gives birth to a child in secret, Eliza Courtney.

Review: I'm a sucker for period films and I loved Keira in the Pirates films and Ralph Fiennes is well...fine. The film is beautifully done. You feel like you are back in time with Georgiana.

The film skips through time a bit to show the progression of her life. It starts at Georgina's 17th year as the typical aristocratic girl. Not sure if she was in her first season in the marriage mart or not, but one thing you learn is that she is a leader not a follower.

Georgiana is the great great great great aunt of the late Princess Diana, and in some ways, you can see history repeating itself in the future. Her marriage to William was not a love match, though she hoped it would be. The only good thing about her husband's mistress is that for all accounts, she was G's good friend. I'm not sure how a friendship like that survived the passing of time but it did, and you'll learn that when she died, she gave her friend and husband's mistress her blessing to become the next Duchess!

The story was definitely compelling. The acting was remarkable, especially by Keira, though Ralph as William was also wonderful, you loved and hated him for his behavior. What was really amusing was his love of his dogs. It is hard to imagine these dogs wandering about with ease in a castle and William seemed more at ease with the animals than with his wife.

Charles Grey is the other man in the picture. His an up and coming politician who knew G before her marriage. Their relationship would have been idyllic. It is hard not to want these two to end up together, but in regency England, well you know it isn't going to happen, and this film doesn't take too many liberties with the Duchess' life.

It is hard to decide how you feel about Lady Bess. I like how the movie hints at her relationship with G, making it possibly more than just friendship.

In a lot of aspects of the film things are left unsaid, but one thing is for sure, her life and marriage certainly would have kept modern day paparazzi busy.

 Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

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