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The Duchess is a film i was keen to see, as after a childhood visit to Chatsworth house, i have remained fond and wanted to know something of its history as the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.
This film features Keira Knightley as Georgiana Cavendish, nee Spencer from her being a 17 year old girl. William Cavendish (Ralph Fiennes), a much older and more worldly suitor decides that she should become his wife after he is reassured by her mother of her inherited ability to proivide him with a male heir. They are quickly married, and it becomes apparent to Georgiana that her husband is a serial adulterer, and she is free to focus on politics, fashion and gambling with their peers as long as she ignores his indiscretions and provides him with an heir.
Georgiana is forced to adopt his bastard daughter from a previous liasion while pregnant with her first born, and she then has another daughter. William is increasingly distant and frustrated with his lack of heir, and embarks upon an affair with her best friend, Elizabeth Foster, who is the mother of 3 boys herself. This causes Georgiana so much heart ache that she embarks upon a passionate affair herself with the future Prime Minister Earl Grey.
Because the film is set in the late 18th century, there were a lot of gorgeous dresses that fitted that era of time. The film actually won an Academy award, a BAFTA and a Satellite award for the costumes.
The settings ranged from the beautiful Chatsworth house in Derbyshire, Holkam hall in Norfolk, The old Royal Naval College at Greenwich, Clandon park in Surrey, Kedlston Hall in Derbyshire and Somerset House on the bank of the River Thames. It really felt from the way the characters acted, dressed and spoke that it was the 18th Century.
The main characters of Georgiana, Willam Cavendish, Elizabeth Foster and Earl Grey did have a good amount of Chemistry between them. Kiera Knightley was excellent in her role as a young girl trying to make her marriage work when her husband did not appear to care for her.
It felt like life at that time would be extremely hard for a woman, even if they were successful and inteliigent in their own right. The husband held all the power, and a wealthy man like William Cavendish could really make things happen for good or bad if he chose to.
This film has had mixed reviews from different sources. As well as winning awards for the costumes, it was also nominated for the acting, directing and cinematography. I personally was very fond of this film. It was historical without being too staid. Sometimes when films are nominated for awards i fail to see why, but in this case i can't think of a single thing in the film that i could fault.
I watched this film on Skyplus so it is a review of the film and not the dvd.
The Duchess is a film about Georgiana Spencer. She married the Duke of Devonshire in 1776 and became the Duchess. She was soon to find out that being married to the Duke was not going to be as wonderful as she first thought as he was not very nice to her and was always having other women. She makes friends with Lady Bess but then finds out that the Duke is having an affair with her as well and he moves her in to live with them and things get very uncomfortable with the three of them living together. Then Georgiana has a soft spot for the politician Charles Grey and finally falls in love with him but when her husband finds out he will not let her continue with the affair even though he is still himself living with Lady Bess.
The film is very nicely done with some lovely costumes and settings. Keira Knightley is very good as the Duchess, she gives the character the sadness she feels for not being able to control her won life.
Ralph Fiennes is the Duke and plays the part well, you can really believe that he is this character from the past who puts his own feelings before anyone else and wants to control his wife.
Charlotte Rampling plays Lady Spencer, Georgiana's Mother,
Hayley Atwell plays Lady Bess
Dominic Cooper plays Charles Grey.
Dominic Cooper was really good as Georgiana's lover. It was no wonder she fell for his charms and good looks if he looked anything like him. I liked him in Mamma Mia and he is showing himself as an even better actor in this.
I really enjoyed watching this film, I like period dramas and this one was really good. It told a good story about times back in the 18th Century.
The film was directed by Saul Dibb and it is rated a 12a in the UK. It runs for 110 minutes.
This review is also published on shopping.com under my user-name Harveydog.
The original advertising and promotion for this film drew several parallels between the life of Georgina, the Duchess of Devonshire and Princess Diana (who was actually a distant descendent of Georgina). I'm not sure if that kind of put me off the film a bit, but I shouldn't have been so hasty in my decision.
No matter what anyone may say about Keira Knightly she does a costume drama well (she seems to have taken over that mantle from Kate Winslet) and here she is at home as Georgina the Duchess of Devonshire. She is a popular and glamourous royal but is stuck in an exceptionally unhappy and to all extents loveless marriage to the Duke (Ralph Fiennes). She was married off a very young unsuspecting girl to one of the country's richest men and a royal to boot but all he craves is a male heir and sees Georgina solely as a means to an end. Unfortunately Georgina cannot give him what he so desperately wants and instead produces a couple of girls, with this situation he begins to look elsewhere for comfort, love and an heir!
Much loved by her public and society Georgina is attractive, intelligent and very glamourous, she rebels against the establishment becoming a campaigner for the Liberals and also finds love with Charles Grey (Dominic Cooper).
The costumes in this film are quite spectacular and almost worth watching for alone! Not normally a big Keira fan I thought she played Georgina very well, understanding the challenges and the highs and lows of her life and exploring the emotional aspect of that sensitively. Ralph Fiennes is excellent as the Duke an uncaring, unloving husband who loved his dogs more than his wife!
A good supporting cast includes Dominic Cooper, Charlotte Rampling and Hayley Atwell to name a few. The film was nominated for the Best Achievement in Art Direction at the 2009 Oscars and won the Oscar for the Best Achievement in Costume Design (deservedly so).
Overall I thought this was an enjoyable film which was beautifully shot, with an excellent cast, amazing costumes and a touch of history to boot. What more could you want from a British costume drama and all in under 2 hours!
You can purchase this film which has an RRP of £22.99, however Amazon has it at the bargain price of £3.99.
Movie Length: 110 minutes
Director: Saul Dibb
Country: United States
Keira Knightley as Georgiana Cavendish
Ralph Fiennes as William Cavendish
Hayley Atwell as Lady Elizabeth Foster
Charlotte Rampling as Lady Spencer
The story is about Georgiana Spencer who lives in the 18th century, and grows in wealth and luxury. Everything in this world is about social status and for a woman it's important to get ahead by marrying. Georgiana is therefore at the age of seventeenth married to the Duke of Devonshire, but there is little love. She still has hope for love, but he is only interested in getting children and to make a successor. Unfortunately, Georgiana gets only two girls who cant carry the title of the Duke. However Georgiana gets increasingly popular with her party and people look at her the way she dresses. She becomes very good friends with Lady Elizabeth Foster, who is also in a bad marriage. Her husband doesn't allow her to see her own children and Georgiana takes pity on her and decides to take her into her home. What first seems a good friend soon proves to be unjustified when she begins an affair with the Duke. Georgiana is enraged and demands that she be deported from the home, but the Duke refuses and Georgiana seem powerless. But it gives her the perfect excuse herself when she meets someone else, but whether it turns out as she wants
Keira Knightley plays Georgiana Cavendish, a seventeen-old girl who grows up in a wealthy family in England. She is someone full of life and is also popular with other people and especially boys certainly have interest in her. When it is known that the Duke of Devonshire has interest for her, it seems it can't get better, but her fairy tale life is soon over. Keira plays the role excellent and convincing. She is full of energy and emotions. In the beginning she is very happy, but in her marriage she must cope with difficulties and she gets it pretty hard. It's nice to see how she must struggle with her own emotions and try to do the right thing, but also doing what she likes to do. So she focuses more on social occasions and becomes a role model for many women by the clothes she wears. Ralph Fiennes plays William Cavendish, the Duke. He seems at first a fairy tale prince, but soon proves to be disappointing. He comes across hard in his emotions and especially towards Georgiana. He's very self-centered and has but one goal, namely to get a successor. But he is also certainly not shy to other women. Ralph plays this role very well and is also credible. You wonder during the movie often what his problem is and why he acts so difficult.
There are several extras on the DVD including a making of the film that is just under half hour. Interesting extra that goes into the production side of the film, but also the locations where the story was filmed. Another extra elaborates on the history and the story, which the film is based. Thus, the writer of the story tells about the book she wrote. And the last extra is more on the clothes used in the film.
I've always been a fan of films / series that deal with life around the 18th century. Just the whole setting of the film with the surroundings and costumes, often has a dramatic effect on the entire film. This is also the case with this movie with the costumes but also the environment where the story was filmed. The film is especially well by the story and the performances. The story has a good structure. At first everything seems perfect for Georgiana, but as the movie goes, everything gets worse. Her life takes a turn that she previously never had expected. The performances are excellent and are a delight to look at. Definitely recommend this movie!
I'm a huge fan of period films. Therefore when The Duchess was released I was very excited. I rushed to the cinema to see it and bought it on DVD as soon as it was released.
The film starts with a young Georgiana (Kiera Knightley), enjoying time at home with her friends. Her mother announces that she is to marry William Cavendish, the Duke of Devonshire (Ralph Fiennes), who is much older than Georgiana. The film follows the beginning of their marriage for a short while. Georgiana has not learnt the philandering ways of her husband yet and hopes to please him, though is not sure how as they don't have anything in common, with advice from her mother she persists.
The viewer begins to realise the personality of the Duke very quickly, where Georgiana remains naive. This seems to change when an orphan girl arrives at their home, her mother has died and her father is the Duke. Georgiana, who is pregnant with their first child although unhappy at first, takes the child into her care.
The film then moves forward six years, with Georgiana giving the Duke two girls tensions in the marriage are high as the Duke is desperately fixated on wanting a son. The film follows Georgiana's increased influence in society, particularly politics, and how her unhappy relationship with her husband leads her to drink and gamble and ultimately have an affair. It also looks at the long running affair between the Duke and Georgiana's friend Lady Elizabeth and how Georgiana deals with the pain of another woman in her household. It also shows how the Duke ended up with his much wanted son, through very cruel means, and Georgiana an illegitimate daughter.
I absolutely love this film and it is completely heart wrenching at times. The story of Georgiana is truly incredible. Watching a marriage where two people just didn't gel, felt almost a little uncomfortable at times. Especially with the emotional torture Georgiana goes through. I'm not particularly a person to cry at film but this film manages to make me cry every time, so I do suggest watching with a box of tissues!
Naturally as a period drama the locations throughout the film are incredible, as are the costumes. In fact The Duchess actually won a couple of awards for its costume design. Although not a big fan of classical music, I do find myself enjoying the music within the film as it greatly adds to the drama. The only slight problem I have with this film is that it tries to link itself to Princess Diana too much, using the tagline 'there were three people in her marriage'; the tale of Georgiana is fascinating in itself and does not require that link.
I think the acting in this film is superb. Keira Knightley plays Georgiana amazingly. She takes the character from a naïve young woman to a knowledgeable player in society extremely well. Knightley really managed to pull on my heart strings with her acting. Ralph Fiennes does a really good job of playing the cold, almost heartless role of the Duke of Devonshire, making you dislike him almost instantly. There are also other notable performances throughout the film, which I won't go in to but all in all the acting is very good.
The film is rated a 12 'contains moderate sex' which is about right as there are some disturbing scenes, though a lot of things are implied rather than seen. The extras on the DVD include a 'making of' documentary, which is quite interesting and looks in a bit more detail at Georgiana, there are some deleted scenes, the theatrical trailer and a photo gallery.
The Duchess can be bought for around £4.00 on Amazon and I highly recommend it. The DVD copy I own is well watched and loved by myself, though not so much by my other half who hates period films!
FILM ONLY REVIEW
The year is 1774 and Georgiana, a young lady from a well to do family is ask by the Duke of Devonshire for her hand in marriage, she is unaware of her mothers involvement with the Duke who says she will be able to give him the son he needs. Georgiana is happy to be married and takes the title of the Duchess of Devonshire. Soon the Duchess is pregnant and they are both happy despite her feeling her husband is not loving enough towards her. Unfortunately the Duchess gives birth to a daughter and also has to take on a girl with the Duke fathered a few years before they met.
The Duke is still desperate for a son and so he gets the Duchess pregnant again and they both hope for a son. As the Duke does not love Georgiana he carries on with other women but Georgiana lets he off with this as it has never been with anyone important and no one she knows. When she again has another girl the strain really does start to show on the family.
Will the Duchess be able to give her husband a son and just how far will the Duke go with his extra marital affairs and what impact will this have on the whole family?
I was looking forward to seeing this film as I have seen a few period films recently and they have all been enjoyable, unfortunately I have to say this one was not as good as others I have seen. I found the storyline was good but a little complicated at times and very far fetched. I know that in the 1700's divorce was not common and so the Duke and Duchess would not get divorced but when others people moved into the house I just found it went too far and I don't know how he was allowed to be living like this and why the public never queried it.
Keira Knightly played the role of the Duchess / Georgiana and she was good in the role but I just felt she was not giving it her all and how she could have expressed so many more emotions. She did look wonderful in her period costumes and they did suit her but I felt she was holding back fully from the role. The chemistry between her and Ralph Fiennes was none existent and for me this was not a good thing. I know they were both in a loveless marriage but there should have been at least some chemistry with the couple as they did marry and wanted people to believe they were in love. I do have to say Ralph did a great job in his role despite the fact I did not like him. He played the role of not being able to express himself and speak of his feelings very well and I loved how she managed to show how uncomfortable he was with his wife.
There were a lot of good strong supporting actors and characters in the film who all played such diverse and different characters and this did help with the plot to the film. Some of my favourite characters were Mr Fox, the politician and General Grey and they seemed to genuinely care for the Duchess and want her to be happy.
The film is set back in 1774 and this is very apparent right from the start, the costumes which the ladies wore were wonderful and looked super but for me I don't know how they managed to wear them as they looked uncomfortable to be in all day everyday day. I loved the little hats and accessories which the Duchess would add to her dresses and hair as this showed she was an independent woman who knew what she wanted and how to express herself. I did find the men's costumes to be quite funny at times and I did not like their hair styles and this was made worse when we saw the Duke keep taking his wig off. The sets for the film were also very good and all looked authentic for the year and I loved the old fashioned way of life which they showed.
The music throughout the film had a very classical feel and this really did help with the telling of the story and getting the emotions right.
As this is a film only review there are no bonus features to speak of. The running time of the film is 110 minutes and I did find this was quite long enough. The certificate is a 12A and I definitely agree with this as there are some inappropriate scenes. The DVD can be bought for around the £5 on Amazon and I do feel this is much better than £10.
Overall I do recommend this film as it has some good acting and a fairly good storyline but this is not as strong or dramatic as other period dramas around at the moment. Still a good enjoyable watch but try to get it for a low price.
My friend rented this movie last night, I think it came out a few years ago but I just hadnt got around to seeing it.
I am a big Keira Knightley fan, in every period drama she has just been perfect, with her lovely UK southern accent, and pouty face she just makes you believe in every character!
In this she plays the Duchess of Devonshire. The film starts off great with Keira marrying the Duke of Devonshire, her mother believing him to be a good match. Society loves her and she flourishes in her new role.
Sadly though the Duke doesnt seem to love her that much, he has affairs, puts her down and doesnt approve of her involvements in politics.
After a few years she hasnt produced an heir, having two girls, and adopting one he has fathered.
The Duke is a cruel man, with no emotions, this becomes apparent when she makes friends with one lady who is having trouble with her husband.
This lady moves in and starts sleeping with the Duke, it becomes a very strange and awful situation but I wont tell all.
This film is so moving, if you love Keira in anything like Pride and Predudice you will love this. The scenery is amazing of stately homes and really takes you back to that time. All the characters are believable and its a bit of a tear jerker!
A film only review: seen on TV.
I find that I really have to be in the mood to watch any kind of a period drama. The other night, I saw this advertised on TV, and having cast Keira Knightley in the role of the Duchess of Devonshire, and knowing a slight bit about the her history and the controversy surrounding her marriage to the Duke, I was, I have to admit, rather intrigued.
Many have said that Knightley was born to play this role. The Duchess of Devonshire, the 18th Century socialite who loved gambling and politics, was a flamboyant personality if Keira's performance is to be believed. Yet behind the scenes lurked sadness and despair that she could not produce the son that the Duke so required. Already a bit of a philanderer with a wandering eye, the Duke then took on an in house lover, which destroyed the Duchess. The film shows the ups and downs of their marriage, and the trials and tribulations it encompassed.
Knightley is, it has to be said, superb in the role of Georgaina, the Duchess (yes, the spelling is correct!). Her rather posh accent fits in wonderfully with the period the film is set in, and I think her straight back and shoulders and high cheekbones, etc, and the very very British aura she has, along with undoubted charisma, is perfectly balanced. Throughout the film, she mesmerised me, and I have been rather annoyed with her in other films, uncomfortable even. It really is her sort of film, something that confirms her performance in Atonement. I wouldn't be surprised to see more of the same from her in years to come.
Also outstanding in this is leading actor Ralph Fiennes. The Duke of Devonshire is portrayed as an incredibly selfish, sexist and chauvinistic man, one to hate, and I used this in the strongest possible sense. It is easy, I suppose, to forget that the equality we experience between the sexes these days would be unbelievably shocking to society 200/300 years ago, and that a woman's role for aristocracy was to produce a male heir. This is the main reason the Duke married her, as marriage was never about love. Fiennes here does a fantastic job, and I know this simply because I absolutely despise him and his attitude. As others have put it, he has that ability to produce a cold stare that stops you cold and makes you want to turn away, even when it's on screen and directed off camera.
The justification the Duke manages to present to Georgaina throughout the film when he has been off with another woman or taking up a live in lover to try and produce a son, or spending more time with another woman's children as opposed to his own daughters, should not be taken in today's comparisons, but kept solely in the context it is given, that of an 18th Century privileged man looking for a male heir to continue his legacy. This was the important thing to him, and boy, don't we know it!
Completely on the flipside is Dominic Cooper's budding lawyer Charles Gray. It was said at the time that every man in the country was in love with the Duchess apart from her husband, but it is Cooper's Gray who is examined here in the film as the main (and forbidden) suitor. Cooper has given a few impressive performances of late, and is very much a rising British star. Roles in Mamma Mia! and recession TV drama Freefall spring to mind. Here, in The Duchess, he manages to deliver the role with almost Shakespearian aplomb, and again, big things beckon for him. (I'd love to see him in a leading Shakespeare role on stage!)
Also supporting well were Charlotte Rampling as Gerogaina's mother, and Hayley Atwell as best friend Bess Foster. Although not in the film a great deal, Rampling's presence is as strong as it usually is, and the priorities her character ranks are powerfully delivered, particularly when Georgaina needs her most and there is obvious leaning towards the Duke's favour. Powerful scene indeed. As are the scenes with Atwell in. She and Knightley are a very convincing pair of friends on screen, and despite the awkwardness that develops due to Foster's involvement with the Duke. It is more solid acting.
The film was delivered very well, from a direction point of view. There is a great deal of patience shown from director Saul Dibb, of whom I am a huge fan following the brilliant Bullet Boy from a couple of years ago. Dibb allows the excellent cast to do their bit, leaving him to concentrate on the beautiful scenery and the atmosphere needed when they are not on screen. For as much as there is patience while the cast are 'doing their thing', there must have been a terrible urge to fast forward through the rest of it until we spot some more acting. Yet, with the aid of some melodic classic music, often heavily featuring strings, the patience is maintained throughout.
Dibb also managed to control through writing the screenplay, and this is now a bit of a trait of his. He wrote and directed Bullet Boy: extremely powerful film. He wrote the screenplay and then directed The Duchess: riveting! The guy's doing okay for himself. Granted, both times he has been gifted with some fabulous acting and some breathtaking camera work. There are times here in The Duchess when I'm completely astounded and amazed at the beauty of some of our countryside and buildings, especially those that have lasted for hundreds of years, retaining their splendour. Long and expansive gardens with the occasional pond/mini-lake and a maze or shaped garden also add to the presence of being in the 18th century, and you really would be forgiven for becoming so involved in the film that you had to snap yourself out of it and realise that yes, we're in the 21st Century!
The cinematography is a wonder to behold, the scenes introducing the huge buildings and beautiful countryside showing as much patience as Dibb does with his own controlling pace. This is in powerful contrast to the occasional scenes which is flitted over, and one in particular that shows a dull and rainy day on the moors, and a heartwrenching moment for Georgaina. This is a fine example of good use of a range of visuals.
So, was there anything bad about it? I mean, so far, I've done nothing but praise. Sadly, yes, there was. Although not overly long, it doesn't get particularly exciting or vary in its interest levels. It starts off with intrigue and true, I was riveted, but I can easily see how someone would find this boring. Knightley and co do a brilliant job, and the direction and visuals are great as well, but it doesn't quite push over the edge and appeal to anyone not looking for a mere recount of a time in history. Perhaps an exploration outside of Georgaina's life might have been in order. The film does completely centre her. I understand that this is the intended story, and she the title of the film, but it doesn't mean that focus cannot be shifted on occasion to encourage a bit of a change in direction and angle of attack. I think this could have livened it up in terms of potential interest levels.
Even so, this is not enough to drop the levels of this film. While I criticise only in terms of what others may feel, I managed to catch this while I was in the perfect mood for it. I think you'd need to be rather relaxed and not feel pressured for any reason, otherwise you may find it a little tedious. Certainly the theme doesn't vary, and the film serves mainly as a lesson in how miserable one person's life can be made, and how on the surface, things may seem to be blooming, but underneath there can be depression and devastation. They had feelings in the 18th Century, too!
The Duchess is currently out on DVD for £5.38, which is a good price considering it was only released last year. Fantastic film as far as I was concerned, although I can easily imagine some people finding it terribly dull. Atmospheric and effective period drama, and well worth the watch. Highly recommended.
This period drama film was released in 2009 and stars Keira Knightley in the lead role of the Duchess of Devonshire, Georgiana Cavendish. This film had the tagline 'There were three people in her marriage' which today's audience would recognise as being a direct reference to a quote by this reputed socialites equally famous descendent Princess Diana.
Similarities are also often drawn between this Duchess and Marie Antoinette who she was actually friends (or acquaintances) with in real life.
The film follows Georgiana's story from her marriage at the age of 17 to the Duke of Devonshire, William Canvendish and through the turbulent years of trying to produce a male heir (she has a number of miscarriages and then two daughters, much to her husband's chagrin) until she embarks on an affair with political activist Charles Grey who gives her the love and attention she has always craved and never found in her marriage.
The film also deals with how Georgiana as a woman in her time was forced to endure her husbands frequent infidelity including a long running affair with Georgiana's best friend, Lady Elizabeth Foster, which results in them living as a strange menage-a-trois for the rest of her life. All this is set against the political background as the Whigs and Torys campaign for votes and Georgiana becomes something of a poster girl for the Whig party.
Keira Knightley - Georgiana Cavendish
Ralph Feinnes - William Cavendish
Hayley Atwell - Lady Elizabeth Foster
Dominic Cooper - Charles Grey
Charlotte Rampling - Countess Spencer
Simon McBurney - Charles James Fox
I felt that Keira Knightley was born to play this part and more so than her previous roles in such action focussed films as the Pirates of the Carribean trilogy, she seems to have a maturity to her here which is beyond her years, both as an actress and as the character.
Beautiful and incredibly dignified whilst being as strong a woman as she could possibly dare to be for the time (the late eighteenth century), Knightley makes this woman entirely loveable and radiant whilst being the dutiful and completely controlled wife of a man who was basically a stone cold philanderer.
Fiennes for his part creates this cold and powerful man incredibly well and the 'love' scenes between them make for uncomfortable viewing from the word go, partly because of the age difference between them. Icy stares are something he does so well that you cannot help but detest the way he treats Georgiana and marvel at his selfish, ignorant ways.
The story is handled in such a way as to make it more than just a tragic portrayal of a loveless marriage, the political background to it all kept even my other half engaged (and he HATES anything resembling a period drama usually). The fact that it is based on a real life character and actual events helps it to be intrigueing and the fact that she pretty much was a bonafide celebrity in her day - long before anyone even knew what that meant - is interesting to see played out.
Well made, well directed and incredibly well cast, this is a real joy to watch. The costumes and attention to detail are exquisite and just watching Knightley in some of the quite amazing outfits is incredibly enjoyable. She carries the part with such finesse that it is difficult to take your eyes off her.
There was one key part of the story which I never understood and I believe was never made entirely clear and that was why exactly the Duke had such an aversion to his beautiful young wife so immediately. He seemed completely content to sleep with maids and concubines and even her best friend - all of whom he inexplicably seems to find so much more attractive than the Duchess. I wished that this had been explored a little more.
Other than this I cannot think of anything I would change about this film.
A wonderful period piece which showcases where (I think) Knightley's greatest talent lies, in completely nailing a strong, historical woman's story.
Easy to watch and engage with, this is a film I will be buying for my collection to enjoy again and again, as a woman it also reminds me that I am lucky to have the freedom and rights to which I am entitled as that has not always been the case.
Run time: 110 minutes
This is a review of the film, not the DVD.
I am a bif fan or period dramas and having not got round to seeing this at the cinema, thought it was time I saw this.
It's based on the life of a real person, Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, a direct descendent of Princess Diana. There are many similarities between the two - both married older men who had affairs, then turned to affairs themselves, both beautiful and renowned for their fashion, both more popular than their husbands and both restricted by their roles in life.
The film takes you through the course of the marriage, having children, affairs and her effect on society. The Duchess is played by Keira Knightley, normally I find her a bit wooden but I think she gives a good performance, the Duke is played by Ralph Fiennes, who's always pretty good. He's not playing the most pleasant of people, but he does British stiff-upper lip so well.
The Duchesses' love interest is played by Dominic Cooper, whom I quite liked in Mamma Mia, but he rather lacks charisma in this, especially considering he wins over the Duchess and has a very successful political career. You do wonder why she ends up in love with him - and is willing to sacrifice so much for him. The supporting cast are all good.
The costumes are amazing, as is the hair and make-up - especially the costumes worn by Keira. There's some lovely shots of country houses and the whole thing looks great.
It was a really interesting story. especially because of the similarities between her and Princess Diana and because of the restrictions placed upon women at the time.
Some parts of the story (without giving too much away) are very emotional and some are disturbing - I even had a little tear at one point!
There is some nudity, a violent sexual scene (mostly implied) and some other sex scenes so not one for the kids! It's probably more of ladies film too.
I really enjoyed watching this film and would definitely recommend it.
*Why did I choose to watch this?*
I'll be honest, when this first came out I wasn't at all interested in watching it. However, somehow it got onto my DVD rental list and it fell onto my doormat yesterday. I wasn't overly thrilled but this morning decided to settle down and watch it as I know Keira Knightley is an excellent actress and I thought it actually might be interesting to watch.
The opening of the film introduces us to Georgiana, a normal 17 year old from a well off family, she is larking about with her friends and having a good time. Her mother calls her into the house and tells her she is to be married to the Duke of Devonshire. Georgiana is very pleased about this and looks forward to her upcoming marriage.
She enters her marriage with an open mind but it is soon apparent that this is not going to be a happy marriage and the two are infact not suited to one another. Her husband appears to be very off with her and hardly breathes a word to her. He is however keen to force himself upon her leaving her wondering what her marriage is actually meant to be about. She divulges her concerns to her mother who basically tells her that that is what marriage is about and to put up and shut up.
The Duke is desperate for an heir and Georgiana is aware of this, therefore when over breakfast one morning it is learned that the Duke already has a daughter who is to move in with them, Georgina is very shocked. In time, Georgiana becomes pregnant and the Duke is very happy, until the baby is born and turns out to be a girl. He is very angry with Georgiana and resents her for not giving him a son, putting more pressure upon their already tense relationship.
Georgiana is extremely popular with the public who all love her, as do all of the Dukes friends. Throughout the film we witness more problems in her marriage including a number of seperations, affairs and abuse.
I really enjoyed this film. The way Georgiana was portrayed meant the audience really related to her and felt her happiness aswell as her pain. I think the way of introducing her at the opening of the film really aided this and made the audience realise she is just a normal girl who wants the normal things in life.
Although the film did have a lot of repetition, this was not a problem as it was all done very well and I never felt there was a dull moment in the film as there was always something else going on alongside the main plot.
The costumes and the set of the film were absolutely fantastic and made the film a pleasure to watch. In particular, I'm not too interested in this time era and would usually avoid watching a film focussing on this time. However, I really enjoyed looking at the set and the costumes and it made the film very lifelike and realistic. I liked watching a different time era as it was so different from today and made you really appreciate it.
In my opinion, the best thing about the film was the character of Georgiana. Keira Knightley in my opinion played her fantastically. We follow Georgiana through a number of stages in her life including marriage and childbirth. Knightley did a superb job of portraying these, despite never personally going through these herself.
I developed a real grudge for the Duke throughout the film and became sick of the sight of him. This is due to the way he was portrayed, therefore making the audience really back Georgiana and relate to her experiences.
The acting in this film was absolutely brilliant and the cast worked extremely well together. The cast was huge but all did an amazing job. The main characters within the film had amazing chemistry and really made the film easy, interesting and fun to watch.
Starring-Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Hayley Atwell, Charlotte Rampling and Dominic Cooper.
Run Time-110 minutes
Released-March 2009 (DVD)
Available-This DVD is currently selling on Amazon for £5.38
*Should you watch it?*
I really recommend you watch this film, if you haven't already. The DVD is available at a bargain price and is a really interesting watch. I think this is one of the best films I have seen this year and it was a true insight to the era. Knightley makes the film a pleasure to watch and I will certainly be watching it again.
All the wild horses in the UK could not persuade my husband that it was a good idea to watch this (averse as he is to anything with big dresses and wigs) - not even the not inconsiderable charms of Keira Knightly. So I sat alone and prepared to enjoy.
The story is of a young girl who marries the Duke of Devonshire full of hope and in the promise that she will give him a son which is his dearest desire. Unfortunately the marriage is less than perfect (don't want to give anything away that will spoil it for) and the drama unfolds as she navigates her way through a dream that slowly turns into a nightmare.
Keira Knightly is not only exceptionally beautiful to look at in this movie (she just seems designed to fit into this era) but I thought her acting was exceptional. She seemed to really understate her reactions in accordance with the level of control a woman had of her own destiny in those days and certain scenes were absolutely heart breaking. The rest of the cast were also expectional with Fiennes portraying the brutish Duke without turning him into a gothic villian.
All in all, it is an exceptional story based in fact and it left me feeling both satisfied in having watched a great movie, and full of thanks that I don't have to face the challenges that she did as an intelligent woman stripped of all power and control over her own destiny. I know he would never have admitted it but I think my husband would actually enjoyed it...
I can't confess to being the biggest fan of period dramas; generally I find them to be too dry to truly resonate, and very much stuck in the past. What's more, they're all that Keira Knightley ever really seems to do, and so it's a bit tiresome that she's starring in the role. That said, The Duchess is far more amusing than I was expecting, and boasts the typically lavish set and costume design that these films usually boast, resulting in it winning an Oscar earlier this year. It's also quite subversive in a subtle way towards the genre's usual dialectic.
The film is based on Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire (Knightley), who is famous for her charm and good looks, as well for her gambling addiction and rather extravagant tastes. The film depicts her youthful marriage to William Cavendish, the Duke of Devonshire (Ralph Fiennes), and then her affair with Earl Grey (Dominic Cooper) and subsequent love triangle involving Lady Bess Foster (Hayley Atwell).
Thematically, the film earns a lot of credit for its rather interesting comparisons to Princess Diana; for in the opening portion, she is married to someone far younger than herself, who becomes a fashion icon and absolute sensation, as Diana herself did when she was alive. Although this obviously isn't an initially conscious thematic concern, it was raised by numerous critics and is nevertheless quite an interesting observation.
The film isn't as dry and boring as a lot of costume dramas, but you do know what you're getting with "corset rippers" like this; it's often sexy and quite funny, but there's nothing of substantial depth here, and it's really quite a light yarn, which, to be honest, is all that it needed to be really, in my opinion.
This is the true story of Georgina Duchess of Devonshire a direct descendant of Princess Dianna.
Georgina was loved by the public but was trapped in a loveless marraige to one of the countries richest men, who's greatest wish from the marraige was to have a male heir.
She gives her husband his heir after a fair amount of attempts but soon finds real love with Earl Grey a politician of the time and they become lovers.
Her husband begins an affair with Georginas friend and actualy moves her and her children into the family home.(what a cad)
This is a very well made period drama and I found it sad to watch and am so glad I was not born in those times.
There is also a very emotional scene where the Duchess is forced to give her love child up to its fathers family.(so sad)
Keira Knightly was brilliant in this as the Duchess and a great performance from Ralph Fiennes as her horrible husband.
The running time of 105 minutes may seem a bit long for some but it seemed to fly by.
Great to snuggle up and watch with your loved one my husband enjoyed it more than me.
Great period drama.
I recently watched this on DVD and although I believe the movie was very well made, excellent script and superb sets and costumes, the extremely weak and poor acting by key characters made this a disappointing movie.
The movie is based on the biography of the Duchess of Devonshire written by Amanda Foreman. I have read the book and found the character of Georgiana to be far more rounded, intelligent and socially aware than the character portrayed by Keira Knightley.
Although much has been made regarding the seemingly spooky coincidence with Princess Diana, although Georgiana may be an ancestor of Diana (and one of the film's settings is her childhood home - Althrop House), it would seem that Georgiana's marriage was not a unique situation in eighteenth century England. Instead, it would appear that this "marriage and a mistress or few" would be the expected and the norm.
Georgiana at the fairly young and inexperienced age of 16 is expected to marry the Duke of Devonshire (Ralph Fiennes) according to her parents wishes and not somebody of her own choosing. This means that the budding relationship or at least sexual tension between herself and Earl Grey (Dominic Cooper's character) who is a politician aiming for the role of Prime Minister. She comes across in these early scenes as a child like figure playing childish games although there are touches of what will become her true skill - the affectation and seduction of men. Outwardly she appears to be carefree, rich, able to get whatever she wants and although she has yet to bear the Duke a male heir, people assume she has a perfect life. Unfortunately however, under that bright and partying façade is a lonely, inexperienced young girl who is struggling to live the reality of her marriage against a dream of what love should be like.
The marriage is portrayed as a very dark, cold, unloving relationship whereby the woman has no value or power. The scenes between Keira and Ralph are well played however unfortunately Keira's weakness as an actress means she appears to "flop and waft" across the screen for much of the movie or fawns over herself and her fashions. The scenes with Ralph Fiennes are extremely powerful and he proves what a superb actor he really is. Unfortunately, his incredible strength as an actor only serves to prove the downfall for Keira and Dominic who just cannot keep up with his screen presence.
The real Georgiana was an intelligent woman who made the best of what was a bad situation and ultimately succeeded in becoming a woman whose opinions and knowledge were respected by politicians and society. In fact, she succeeded as although her husband had the power, she was able to usurp her way to power in a subversive manner. She was aware of what her strengths were and how to make what must have been an appalling and untenable situation work to her advantage. She became the socialite and darling of English society. Bizarrely there appears to be some sort of affection from both the Duke and The Duchess and whilst many people have been seeing only The Duchess' sad life, the Duke is also a victim of what was a society that worshipped the men and sidelined the women.
This is an interesting movie as a social commentary however it is disappointing due to the weak acting. Ralph Fiennes is a powerful performer and unfortunately Keira, Dominic and even Charlotte Rampling as Georgiana's mother just show how poor they are at performing against a strong, classically trained actor such as Fiennes.
The costumes and the set design are however superb and faultless. The detailing is spectacular and you can see that the money has been spent well on creating a realistic production. Unfortunately the performances do not live up to the expectations of such a lavishly beautiful feature film.
Unlike a lot of other period films, this is fairly short and does not dip into the three hour epics that lately have been well beloved by film studios.
It is probably more a "girly" movie than a guy flick - put it this way, my other half just laughed at me when I asked him if he wanted to watch it!
Overall it is entertaining and easy to watch however I am glad I didn't watch it at the cinema as I would have disappointed. Now it is in the bargain bins, it is worth spending a few pounds for an afternoon's entertainment.
Actors Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Dominic Cooper, Charlotte Rampling
Director Saul Dibb
Running Time: 105 minutes
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