Saturday, 13 September 2008

The Duchess - saucy and modern

Sumptuous costumes and extravagant hairdos are the stars of this film – just like an Adam Ant video.
But it poses modern questions about the role of celebrity in politics and in fashionable society.
The drama comes out of the sad, loveless marriage between the eighteenth century Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.
Keira Knightley shines in the title role.
She is saucier than usual – an early glimpse of Knightley naked is followed by a girl-on-girl love scene, and a domestic ménage à trois when the Duke moves his mistress in.
The real Duchess was a Spencer – and comparisons with Lady Di, Prince Charles, and Queen Camilla are obvious.
The playwright Sheriden is portrayed as the Andrew Morton of his day.
And the Duke even has his own take on Charles’s famous “whatever love is” line.
Women are depicted as clothes horses and broodmares. Their importance and standing rely on their ability to produce a male heir.
The Duchess debates the nature of freedom with the leader of the reformist Whigs. She argues it is an absolute, and this is tested when she has to choose between her children and her personal fulfilment.
The Duke appears to have it all but even he is trapped by duty.
The film is beautifully shot. Odeon Merry Hill - adult ticket £6.20.

1 comment:

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