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Running Time:
1 hour, 50 minutes

Rating: PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned.

Rating Explanation:
for sexual content, brief nudity and thematic material.

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
If you enjoy sumptuous photography and dazzling costumes this might be your cup of tea, if not, you could find it all rather dull.

Additional Info:
DVD Features: Closed Caption; How Far She Went... Making The Duchess; Georgiana in Her Own Words; Costume Diary.

Keira Knightley ... The Duchess
Ralph Fiennes ... The Duke
Charlotte Rampling ... Lady Spencer
Dominic Cooper ... Charles Grey
Hayley Atwell ... Bess Foster
Simon McBurney ... Charles Fox
Aidan McArdle ... Richard Brinsley Sheridan

The Duchess
This is a complex story about a woman trapped in an arranged marriage, based on the true story of the beautiful and glamorous woman who, in the late 18th century, became the Duchess of Devonshire. When Georgiana’s mother negotiates a marriage settlement between the 17-year-old and the much older Duke of Devonshire, the contract entitles Georgiana to a handsome financial reward once she has produced a son and heir. Georgiana (Keira Knightley "Pride and Prejudice") is excited at the prospect, believing the Duke (Ralph Fiennes "The English Patient") is truly in love with her. But married life quickly becomes a disappointment when she realizes her husband has no interest in even talking to her, being more interested in bedding the servants. He also expects her to mother his illegitimate daughter, who comes to live with them.

Georgiana responds by throwing herself into the role of society hostess, entertaining the Whigs, the party supported by her husband, including party leader Charles Fox (Simon McBurney "The Last King of Scotland") and his protegee Charles Grey (Dominic Cooper "Mamma Mia"). She does bear her husband two children but, to his disappointment, they are daughters. On a visit to Bath, Georgiana becomes friends with Bess Foster (Hayley Atwell "Brideshead Revisited"), who reveals her husband has taken her children and won’t allow her to see them. Georgiana takes pity on her and invites her to stay at her home, with the unfortunate result that Bess becomes the Duke’s mistress. So, Georgiana begins an affair with Grey, which is to have tragic consequences.

The story is told from Georgiana’s point of view and Keira Knightley manages to convey her increasing disillusionment and later desperation as a victim in a world where men hold all the power. As the Duke, Ralph Fiennes delivers his typically subtle performance suggesting that he is also trapped in a role not of his choosing, but simply bound by the codes and behavior of his time.

The locations are magnificent and the costumes lavish, but this may not quite be the costume drama you may have expected, even though there are obvious parallels to be drawn between Georgiana and her descendant, Diana Spencer. While this relationship  clearly made the Amanda Foreman novel a bestseller, writer/director Saul Dibb ("Bullet Boy") is adamant that this is not a film about Diana, but if it's not, what could have been their reason for making it?

  The Duchess with Keira Knightley: DVD Cover

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