Monday, September 6, 2010

The Duchess

Netflix recently added a lot of films that I've been waiting to watch to its Watch Instantly section. (Let me take a moment to say how great Netflix is. If you are bored, on an "extended summer break"/taking forever to find a job, I highly recommend you subscribe to Netflix. At around $9 a month for unlimited Watching Instantly online, it's pretty worth it. And their Watching Instantly section is growing and getting much much better. If you are skeptical, you can always do the free month trial.) The last film I reviewed, Mother, is a newly added one. The Cove, the awarding documentary, was also added so I shall be watching that soon. I decided to watch The Duchess as I felt I needed to watch a period film, and I always love films about aristocrats, kings and queens.

(I really don't like the Princess Diana reference in the beginning of the trailer. But the rest of it is better than others.)

I wouldn't say this is a period film about nobilities that is particularly groundbreaking or memorable. Honestly, I didn't even like Keira Knightley in her role as Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. I thought she lacked the gravitas, weight to play such a role. There are a few moments, however, where she is pretty good. I also find the casting of Dominic Cooper questionable. On the other hand, I thoroughly liked Ralph Fiennes, as the Duke, and Hayley Atwell, as his mistress Lady Bess Foster. (Hayley Atwell is Lady Julia Flyte in Brideshead Revisited, another great role that I really enjoyed watching.)

But The Duchess is a pretty interesting film while it lasted. The plot and the relationships between the characters have some very good complexity. There are many moments in the film where I felt sympathetic towards a character while disliking others. And there are moments of redemption where I started to like the characters who I previously hated. Moreover, there is one slightly scandalous scene where Georgiana and Lady Bess' relationship is darkly explored.

To sum it up, The Duchess is slightly better than The Other Boleyn Girl, not as good as The Young Victoria, and a watered down, less creative Marie Antoinette. But I still love Keira Knightley and I am looking forward to her next film Never Let Me Go. Can you believe she's only 25?

Lastly, she's so well spoken in this interview!

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