Oy vey, do you think it’s taken me long enough to review this film? First I had to remember to watch it, then there was this whole shonda where I had to remember I had this blog, then all the writing… To say the least it was a headache, that and having to spend hard earned money to get a new domain name because apparently Dot.tk domains are so linked with spam that Google won’t let them gain page rank. So NeonAngel is now at NeonAngel.in, which looks cooler anyway, no?
Now, on to the film. Careful where you step, there are a few steaming spoilers on the carpet.
The Duchess is a 2008 period Saul Dibb film in which Keira Knightley portrays the infamous tragic fashion plate Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire who’s life and love were wasted on her cold, brutal and unfaithful husband William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire.
My first thoughts on the film were simple ones. Keira is amazing as always, aren’t the sets beautiful, wow they spent a lot of money, and so on. Until the Duke becomes a major player in the film, at which time my thoughts continue to dwell on, “Wow, Lord Voldemorte is quiet. I wonder how long he can keep that fake nose on? Is it just me, or is Voldemorte kind of hot in this?” If you haven’t guessed by now, Gorgiana’s husband William Cavendish was skillfully played by Ralph Fiennes, famously Lord Voldemorte in the Harry Potter films. Unfortunately, because of his time in those films I have a hard time separating his other performances in my mind even though he has amazing range as an actor.
Keira Knightley was the heart and soul of this film. When she laughs you believe it, when she cries you want to cry. Her hard work gives a face and warmth to Georgiana, and she makes you feel for her and want history to change just to give her something, anything in her life.
There’s a great moment in the film when Georgiana confronts her best friend Bess Foster (Hayley Atwell) about an affair with Georgiana’s husband, which Bess tells her she only agreed to so that she could use William’s power to get her children back. Georgiana tells her that she crossed a line and there are limits to the sacrifices you make for your children, to which Bess replies that there are not limits. This is a great moment in the film as it manages to set up Georgiana’s fate later on.
The Duchess is moving, touching and sad without being at all melodramatic or pretentious. I can’t give this 10 out of 5 stars, so stars are out of the question. If you haven’t seen The Duchess, you’re missing out.