Friday, January 23, 2009

The Duchess (2008) PG13 - 4 Stars

A powerful performance by Kinghtley and Fiennes. It's easy to see why both are nominated for Academy Awards. The setting and 18th century costumes are exquisite. Very powerful story about the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and the controversy surrounding them, showing the oppression of the women in that time period. Should probably be an "R" rating as a lot of sexual expression going on.

Georgiana Cavendish Spencer (Keira Knightley), is ecstatic to learn that the Duke of Devonshire (Ralph Fiennes), one of the most powerful rulers in England, is interested in marry her after only meeting her two times. It's everything Georgiana has dreamed of and moving into Devonshire, she soon becomes England's "It Girl" with her wit and charm. Her social style has her instantly excepted into British high society. It seems, everyone who meets her is in love with the Duchess except for her husband.

The Duke, is distant and cold to her, and at every given opportunity seems to try and make arrangements for sex from other women. He is unhappy with Georgiana, as she is yet to birth a live heir, instead only offering two girls. As Georgiana becomes more lonely, she befriends Lady Bess Foster (Hayley Atwell) who has been beaten and left alone by her husband, who now keeps Bess's sons from seeing their mother. It's agreed with the Duke that Bess will stay at Devonshire.

Earl Grey (Dominic Cooper), a political activist has admired the Duchess and in need of male companionship, Georgiana becomes quite active promoting his causes. So much so, she has fantasized about their being together. When she confronts him on his feelings, the two soon find themselves in each others arms, experiencing the passion she has never felt with her husband. Meanwhile, back in Devonshire, the Duke and Lady Bess have made arrangements of their own. She declares to her husband her acceptance of Bess while she pursues the love she's been lacking, with Earl. Now, this bitter love triangle must be kept under wraps to avoid any scandal.

2008 - The Duchess - Phoenix Film Critics Association - Best Costume Design

Paramount Vantage
Directors: Susanne Bier, Saul Dibb
Writers: Saul Dibb, Anders Thomas Jensen, Jeffrey Hatcher
Producers: Carolyn Marks-Blackwood, Michael Kuhn, Gabrielle Tana
I viewed 1/09

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