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Top Customer Reviews
Georgiana was given in an arranged marriage to the Duke of Devonshire (a wonderful performance by Ralph Fiennes), who had only met her twice previously. The Duke is desperate for a male heir, and soon, Georgiana soon finds herself in a loveless marriage and the mother of three girls - two born of Georgiana and one born of a maid who had an affair with Devonshire. Even after bearing the indignities of her husband constant affairs, Georgiana becomes a darling of English society, known for her fashion sense, political activism, and love of gambling.
But Georgiana draws the line, or tries to draw the line, when Devonshire takes a live-in lover and her three children. She eventually begins an affair with a young politician that threatens her way of life.
The film paints an appropriately bleak picture of what it was like for a woman in those days. Georgiana is a beautiful, intelligent, and charming young woman whose only hope in life is that she happens to marry someone who loves her and will treat her like a human being. As it turns out, Devonshire becomes increasingly unlikeable as he expects Georgiana to abide by his affairs, then sit in silence as he keeps another woman and her children under their roof, and not just any woman, but one that had become a good friend of Georgiana.
The movie is beautifully filmed and the performances are very good. The story tells a compelling story of a woman trapped by her times and circumstances and forced to make terrible choices.
Married young by her mother (Charlotte Rampling, in a wonderfully controlled performance) to William Cavendish, Duke of Devonshire (Ralph Fiennes), the foremost peer of the realm, she finds quickly that her husband (who she met only twice beforehand) is a cold and distant fellow who is only interested in a male heir. Already tasked to mother his bastard daughter Charlotte, she gives birth to two daughters, to the disgust of the Duke, who has a series of mistresses that she tolerates. The Duchess becomes a social marvel, hobnobbing with Whig politicians like Charles James Fox (Simon McBurney) and Charles Grey (Dominic Cooper, later 2nd Earl Grey and Prime Minister) and politician/esteemed playwright Richard Sheridan (Aidan McArdle), whose "School for Scandal" was based heavily on the Cavendishes' marriage. She eventually finds a close friend in Lady Elizabeth (Bess) Foster (Hayley Atwell), and invites her to live with them, which turns out to have dangerous consequences when the Duke initiates an affair with her, and refuses to expel her. She then finds herself living in a forced menage a trois (subtle humour found in the three of them eating silent breakfasts together). Understandably, she finds herself increasingly drawn to Grey.Read more ›
Stoic and rigid when it comes to his wife, Fiennes plays the distant husband to perfection, indulging in extra-marital affairs and ignoring his wife's obvious suffering when she discovers his penchant for callous infidelity. Georgiana responds as best she can, given the restraints of society, becoming the darling of the social set, charming and witty, a trendsetter who captivates the imaginations of those who enjoy her company, male and female. One admirer is Whig party leader Charles Fox, but there are many. Georgiana is a skillful raconteur regardless of her deep disappointment with marriage.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In my opinion the story wasn't worth making a movie about, I saw nothing more to it beyond a wealthy couple manipulating and emotionally abusing each other in very eccentric... Read morePublished 24 days ago by Amazon Customer
Superb costumes, decent acting and recount of historical events.Published 26 days ago by Amazon Customer
Absolutely one of my all-time favorite period films! I love this movie and have watched it countless times! So many things about this movie broke my heart... Read morePublished 2 months ago by VivZie
Enjoyed watching but this is not a feel good movie! Depressing. Even a Duchess was mere chattel in the 1700's.Published 2 months ago by S. SHEA