Every year, there are one or two films in the old English mold where the main characters live in a damp old castle.
They’re filled with ghastly costumes, mile-high wigs and haughty stiff-upper-lip very British dialogue.
I’m not a fan.
The latest is The Duchess starring Keira Knightley. It is a biopic about the life of Georgiana Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire. She’s an ancestor of the late Lady Di and Sarah, the former Duchess of York.
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She also may have been England’s first feminist. Georgiana was unhappily married. Her stuffy, disconnected husband--wonderfully done by Ralph Fiennes--has many affairs and eventually forces her to live in a ménage-a-trois with her best friend.
Undeterred, she gambled, caroused with men of politics and the theater, and she had an affair and a child with Charles Grey, who later became England’s prime minister.
You’ll spend a lot of time in The Duchess wondering if the film has a point. Though her personal history is fascinating, director and co-writer Saul Dibb’s screenplay and storytelling is not. He connects you with 18th century British politics, but he underplays Georgiana’s contribution to the feminist movement to come.
And--on a technical note--the story takes place over a long period of time and yet Georgiana's children never age.
Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes, brief nudity. It opens Friday at the Carmike 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself