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Easy Virtue

189 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Jessica Biel, Colin Firth, Kristin Scott Thomas and Ben Barnes bring Noël Coward's witty comedy of manners magnificently to life in this "deliciously cheeky" (Ella Taylor, The Village Voice) adaptation from director Stephan Elliott (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert). When British playboy John brings his new wife Larita - a race car-driving feminist from Detroit - home to meet the family at their country estate, pretty much everyone's expectations are disappointed. His snooty mother is offended by Larita's carefree American ways, while Larita does everything she can to get her mother-in-law to loosen up, which only annoys her even more. John's sisters have diametrically opposed feelings about their new sister-in-law, but his father is intrigued to have finally found another who sees through the family's façade - and takes great perverse pleasure in watching his wife meet her match.

A lighthearted adaptation of a Noel Coward play set in the late 1920s, Easy Virtue stars Jessica Biel as Larita, an adventurous American who marries John, the naive, British heir (Ben Barnes) to a crumbling family estate. Whisked into the less-than-receptive bosom of John's kin, Larita soon finds herself drawing the scorn of her mother-in-law (Kristin Scott Thomas), who would have preferred John marry a longtime sweetheart from his own genteel community rather than a brash Yankee. Eager to move to London, Larita knows the longer a post-honeymoon John visits his family the harder it will be for the newlyweds to live on their own terms, and she's right. Giving up on any notion of fitting in, Larita suffers a few embarrassments before fighting back. But nothing can help her once a past scandal encroaches on her dream of happiness.

Co-writer and director Stephan Elliott (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) keeps everything breezy and fun, though the clashes between Larita and her malicious mother-in-law are keenly felt. Elliott's period sensibility is very strong, not least of all his appreciation of John's father (Colin Firth), a restless intellectual and member of the so-called Lost Generation of World War I veterans. Firth's performance as a man distanced from his family's preoccupations and material woes is a real highlight of Easy Virtue. When he dances a tango, late in the story, one can see years of repressed desire erupt in him. --Tom Keogh

Stills from Easy Virtue (Click for larger image)

Special Features

Deleted Scenes
Blooper Reel
Commentary with Director Stephan Elliott & Writer Sheridan Jobbins
New York Premiere

Product Details

  • Actors: Pip Torrens, Jessica Biel, Colin Firth, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ben Barnes
  • Directors: Stephan Elliott
  • Producers: Barnaby Thompson, Joseph Abrams, James Stern
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Portuguese, Spanish, English
  • Dubbed: Portuguese, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 15, 2009
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002I5GNZQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,189 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Easy Virtue" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By TREND700 on February 24, 2010
Format: DVD
Between world wars, the Whittaker's estate is sinking; only the iron will of Mrs. Whittaker staves off bankruptcy while she awaits her son John's return from the continent. To her dismay, he brings a bride: an American widow who races cars. The bride, Larita, thinks she and John will visit and then go to London, where he'll work and she'll race. But John is to the manor born, and mother is nothing if not a master at plans and manipulation. Soon it's all-out war between mother and bride, with John's father, a burnt out veteran of the Great War, in the bride's corner ineffectually. Mother has a plan to join with the neighboring estate; only Larita is in her way. Based on the original play by Noel Coward, 'Easy Virtue' encompasses sharp wit, romance and drama; and although it is set in 1920s England, it is far from the typical period drama that might be expected. Biel has a captivating presence, bringing classic Hollywood glamour to the movie. A thoroughly enjoyable British comedy.
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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Steve Kuehl VINE VOICE on September 13, 2009
Format: Blu-ray
...I know the cost is going to be a killer. To summarize quickly before a long worded review - this is your typical solid Sony BD presentation of a good film, so I suppose one will have to weigh out how much they love the content.

I felt this to be a great comedy presentation of a 1920s Brit piece that came across on Blu beautifully. The English countryside estate (a lovely looking acreage and interior) is filled with a wonderful cast of snobs, naive youth, seasoned work staff, and a comic relief father played perfectly by Colin Firth. He was the strong point of the movie and I laughed almost every time he spoke. The story follows the introduction of an American wife into this mix played adequately by Jessica Biel. As the weeks progress we get to see a spattering of visuals, comedic schticks, and life lessons learned by all until the surprising end. I do not feel the criticism I have read here and elsewhere is valid since this is meant to be a light take on this sociological experiment, yet exquisitely preserved.

The overall colors were a little drab, but some of the landscape exteriors and one interior dance scene showed some vibrancy. The TrueHD was fine, and actually played best when the music was active (which is being interjected often). The supplements were thorough for a film like this, including:
* 5 minutes of 4 deleted scenes - would have been fine left in the film.
* 8:30 minutes of bloopers - they were actually funny and seemed appropriate for the extras inclusion since this was a humorous film.
* 6 minute New York Premiere Featurette - more of an ad plug with some red carpet interviews and too many film clips.
* Commentary by the director and writer - this was actually one of the better ones I have heard in some time.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Reading Addict on July 28, 2009
Format: DVD
I loved watching this movie. If you have seen some of Noel Cowards work done before (Relative Values), you'll remember the humor he brings to the plate. Stephan Elliot truly had his hands full with four great cast members! You will laugh, you will be upset, you will be astonished and that it what makes this movie such fun to watch! It's been described as "meet the very posh british parents" but I think it's much, much more. And, a great performance of the Tango done by Jessica Biel and Colin Firth!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By British on June 19, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I am always looking for a movie that I can watch that will entertain me and sometimes, help chase away the blues. I am generally not a romance movie fan, so I nearly passed this movie by. I did watch this movie however, and boy was I glad that I did. The plot very entertaining and the scenery, the clothes, the actors were all eye candy. The music selected for the movie helped set the tone. Was it a socially important movie? No, not unless you think that bringing a smile or laugh to someone has value (which obviously I do.) This movie is what it is. You either get it...or you don't. A big thumbs up, in my book.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By D. A. McKelvey on July 21, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I saw Easy Virtue 5 times in the theatre when it was in limited release and would have seen it more given the chance! The acting is suberb by the whole cast. Ben Barnes (of Prince Caspian fame) plays love struck young Englishman John Whittaker who marries American race car driver, Larita (an elegant, witty Jessica Biel) bringing her home to his manipulative disapproving mother (the always fabulous Kristin Scott Thomas), vacant war damaged father (Colin Firth in a beautifully natural performance), and provincial sisters Marion and Hilda. Snappy dialogue and machinations ensue on both sides in the battle for John's future.

This is often billed as a comedy and though it IS very funny, there is drama and deeper meaning, as well. Director and co-screenwriter Stephan Elliott (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) manages to find something sympathetic in each character while taking a delicious potshot at upper-crusty English society. Little is left of the Noel Coward play it's based on (thank goodness), but it's witty enough that it sounds like Coward. Elliott creates a visually rich and dynamic piece packed with fun period music (I LOVE the soundtrack!).

Marius de Vries builds a beautiful period score along with some contemporary songs made to sound like period pieces (I especially love "Sex Bomb"). Ben Barnes has a gorgeous voice and besides singing to charm everyone in the movie, provides the soundtrack with two of my favorite songs, "A Room With a View" and "I'll See You Again". Jessica Biel opens the film with a lovely "Mad About the Boy" and helps Colin Firth and Ben Barnes on "When the Going Gets Tough the Tough Get Going".

I highly recommend this gay, bittersweet romp!
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