The Duchess

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The Duchess is a lovely period piece film that is based on a true story.   It was nominated for and Oscar in art direction and won an Oscar for costume design.  This was a good movie, if you like period pieces.  It has an interesting story, great acting, and lovely dresses. 

Georgiana is married to the Duke of Devonshire at the young age of 17.  His one request from her is to produce a male heir.  She has two beautiful daughters before she starts to feel that her marriage is falling apart.  She is loved by many in London society as she is a trend setter and active in politics, but her husband was not among those who love her. Disappointed she has not produced an heir, The Duke takes Georgiana’s best friend, Bess, as his mistress and forces the three of them to live together in an uneasy arrangement. In the middle of this distress and disappointment, Georgiana falls for a budding young politician named Charles Gray.  The Duke finds out that Georgiana and Charles have been seeing each other and commands Georgiana to make a decision.  Either she give up Gray or he will take her children away from her.  Will the Duchess chose love or her children?  You will have to watch the film to find out.

This movie is based on the book Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman and is supposedly a true story.  I found this movie to be very interesting because I thought that the relationship between the Duke, the Duchess and Bess to be very odd and unusual for that time period.

I thought the costume design was spectacular and Oscar worthy. They would have had to research it very thoroughly so that the costumes were equal to the era especially since The Duchess was a fashion trend setter in her time. The dresses, hats, and hair were gorgeous and nicely done.

I thought the acting was very well done.  Ralph Fiennes is wonderful as the cold Duke, he doesn’t need or understand love. He seems removed from the world.  Kiera Knightly must love wearing period piece gowns or something, we see a lot of her in roles like this. She does very well as the Duchess.  Her face is very expressionable and she conveys the distress, love, joy and depression that the Duchess feels beautifully.  I liked Dominic Cooper as Charles Gray.  He is a dashing young man with a bright future that is enamored with the Duchess just like everyone else.  Hayley Atwell plays Bess the Mistress that comes to live with the master. She knows what women in her age have to live with and probably thinks that Georgiana is naïve and tries to help her be happy, but only seems to make her more miserable.  Overall, I thought the acting was well done.

Overall this is a fine period piece film.  Not as good as Shakespeare in Love or Elizabeth but one to watch if you like period piece films.


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