Based on historical events, The Duchess tells the story of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and her marriage to William Cavendish, the Duke of Devonshire. At the age of seventeen, Georgiana marries the duke with hopes of a happy life with him, however she soon learns that the duke does not care for her and only wanted a male heir to inherit his title. Though she was in an unhappy marriage, she was loved by the people for her fashion sense. She was frequently involved in politics and helped a young politician by the name of Charles Grey, who she grows very fond of.
As you watch The Duchess, you may happen upon some familiar faces from other period dramas.
|Actor/Actress||Character||Also Seen In|
|Keira Knightley||Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire||Pride and Prejudice (2005) as Elizabeth Bennet|
|Charlotte Rampling||Lady Spencer||Great Expectations (1999) as Miss Havisham|
|Dominic Cooper||Charles Grey||Sense and Sensibility (2008) as John Willoughby|
|Hayley Atwell||Lady Bess Foster||Mansfield Park (2007) as Mary Crawford|
|Keira Knightley as Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire|
|Ralph Finnes as the duke|
The duke was extremely dislikable. Almost from the first moment he appeared on the screen, I disliked him greatly. He was especially cold and cruel to Georgiana and showed more attention to his dogs. Hey, he was even rude to the politicians that he invited over for dinner. I felt like if he had been nicer to Georgiana that they wouldn't have had so many problems (and, yes, I know that this is a historical film and that he was probably a jerk in real life too, but he should have been nicer in real life).
|Hayley Atwell as Bess Foster|
|Georgiana marries the duke. Behind Georgiana is her mother,|
Lady Spencer (Charlotte Rampling).
The scenery is spectacular! From the lavish gardens that outdoor scenes take place in to the elegant homes, this movie definitely has some scenery eye candy. All the scenes are colorful and look splendid. Next to costuming and the music, the movie next succeeded in the wonderful scenery.
|The Cavendish Family|
In a word, gorgeous! Seriously, whoever was head of costuming for this movie should have gotten a bonus! Costumes ranged from the 1770s to the early 1790s and were very elaborate. Since Georgiana is "the empress of fashion", her gowns are always very rich, elaborate, and express the latest styles. Her hair also changed with the years: at the beginning, she had very high hair that was popular during the 1770s, and towards the end, she sported the hedgehog hairstyle that gained popularity in the 1780s. I did think some of the hedgehog hairstyles that she wore didn't look so great, but some of the others did. Georgiana's friend, Lady Elizabeth Foster, also had some nice dresses on and pretty much followed the same styles as Georgiana.
I really like the soundtrack! The orchestra that did the pieces sounded very nice! The songs ranged in volume: some were very quiet while others were louder. The tone of the songs were also more serious than happy, but then it's not a happy storyline either so it fitted with the tone of the movie.
Though the costumes and the music were a credit to this film, the story line is not a happy one and not one that anyone should try to emulate. Many of the characters make very bad decisions and there are no characters of moral high ground about. Yes, the events in the movie probably emulated real life events, but by no means should any of the characters be role models. Similarly to what I've said about Mozart's Sister, the costumes, music, and scenery were awesome, but the actual story line was not all that great; in other words, you may not want to watch this movie for the plot, but rather to see some great late Georgian wear, hear good music, and see lovely country houses and scenery.
Though the movie is rated PG-13 (that would be the cut version here in America), I would not recommend this to anyone unless they were older. There were quite a few adult scenes that I thought were more graphic for a PG-13 rating. Luckily, those scenes you can pretty much see coming and can be possible to skip without loosing too much of the story line. There is also some nudity in a couple of scenes and there is some suggestive dialogue that is blush-worthy. I think that some of the content should have been closer to R than PG-13.
The Duchess is available on DVD. It is rated PG-13 and runs for 109 minutes.