Jun 29, 2012

The Duchess, 2008

The Duchess, 2008
Director: Saul Dibb
Cast: Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Dominic Cooper

Stage: Home theatre, a peaceful evening after a really long day

The Duchess in short: Georgiana Spencer became Duchess of Devonshire on her marriage to the Duke in 1774, at the height of the Georgian period, a period of fashion, decadence, and political change. Spirited and adored by the public at large she quickly found her marriage to be a disappointment, defined by her duty to produce a male heir and the Duke's philandering and callous indifference to her. She befriends Lady Bess but finds she is once again betrayed by her husband who wields his power with the three eventually living uncomfortably together. Against this background, and with the pressures of an unfaithful husband, strict social pressures and constant public scrutiny, Georgiana falls passionately in love with Charles Grey, a rising young Whig politician. However, despite his ongoing liaison with Lady Bess, the Duke refuses to allow her to continue the affair and threatens to take her children from her.

Preps: I don't know anything about the piece, but Keira attracts my attention, therefore I am more than eager to see it. Plus, it's after a true story, am always a sucker for this.

Reality: Well, it's a long way, before you master the technique of putting the right dialogues on the same level as the scenery, energy between actors, direction, photography. In other words, there is a fine line between an average movie and a brilliant one. This one doesn't reach beyond averageIn this perticular piece you see a lot of everything, but it's all looking like dog's dinner, it doesn't really work together as it should. The main cast somehow pull through some brilliant dialogues, plus the story is intriguing, but it doesn't impress me in a way it would keep my mind really focused on the piece.
They lose me right away, then catch my attention, then lose me again. I can't complain about the red line. Lost love, forced marriage, how to deal with it.. it's a good topic and a lot of movies have been made with this same essence. The start of the piece gives me the creeps as I am more than I should probably be, liberal thinker and don't support arranged marriages at all. In my opinion, I am a lucky ducky to be born in time and place, where I have the option to choose, to deny something or to say someone to get out of my sight. Keira in this matter represents time and party, where she couldn't - in some sense, the woman liberation came after these things were torn apart; when women could not only vote, but also decide who they want to spend their lives with. It's a sad story, as she struggles to maintain (or develop) the love of her forced husband and yet, the movie doesn't touch me as hard as it could.
The love she finds, on screen, seems very lame and could have more passion. Could have more heart and spirit. I don't buy it as much as I buy her desperation and imagining the situation of being together with the husband's mistress. Ralph Fiennes as the husband is the block of solid ground that doesn't shake even a bit, when he tells her she's not going to see her children ever again, if she doesn't obey him.

All in all, the movie is an average one, I am not surprised it didn't hit the blockbuster rating. As said, the main cast resolve most of the issues I have with the movie, but they aren't capable of driving it above the average point. I am grateful to be thinking about the movie afterwards, because this to me is an indicator, when a movie hits me deeper as I have imagined. So, not really a waste of time, but I have expected much more.

My personal rating: 5,5 (an average, yet decent thing to watch and think about. Will make you appreciate the hospitality of people's choice when they seek a mate /partner/life companion)

The Duchess on IMDB

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