Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
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)
| || || |
Commentary with Director Stephan Elliott & Writer Sheridan Jobbins
New York Premiere
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The story opens with Larita winning the Monte Carlo Grand Prix but being disqualified for "not having chest hair," as she says. She and new husband John drive out to the family venerable estate in Larita's souped-up German racer. An ice cold reception from everyone but father-in-law Maj. Whittaker is a harbinger of things to come. Larita's other in-laws treat her like a dog privately and put on phony faces when friends are present. Mother-in-law Victoria is particularly caustic. Larita goes toe-to-toe with her (much to the major's delight) and surprises Victoria with a tenacious resolve to not be dominated.
When later confronted with news clippings of her sensational American murder trial, Larita handles it coolly, explaining that her first husband was terminally ill and she injected him with poison at his request. (This trial ended in an acquittal.) Having suffered enough humiliation from her in-laws, Larita plans to move out even as Victoria demands it of her. John never stops loving Larita (in his own way) but this isn't enough. His refusal to leave the nest is a deal breaker; Larita decides their marriage must end. As she's ready to drive away never to return, someone climbs into her open sports car, but it isn't John.
Based on the reading of a St. Valentine's Day Massacre news clipping, this story opens in February, yet flowers bloom, trees are green and folks play tennis in typically brief garb. Many of the songs heard or sung here are of the correct vintage. Exceptions: "You're the Top," sung by Larita and John, is from 1934. Two Noel Coward songs, "Mad About the Boy" and "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" are from 1932 and '31 respectively.
Stephan Elliott's EASY VIRTUE is a delicious treat with many absurd moments, like a crushed chihuahua, a Can-Can dance sans knickers and an outwardly bland butler who has a secret past. Recommended for all aficionados of wry British comedy.
Parenthetical number preceding title is a 1 to 10 imdb viewer poll rating.
(6.6) Easy Virtue (UK/Canada-2008) - Jessica Biel/Colin Firth/Ben Barnes/Kristin Scott Thomas/Kimberly Nixon/Katherine Parkinson/Kris Marshall/Christian Brassington/Charlotte Riley/Jim McManus
She marries a younger scion of a hidebound and broke family living in the past in a huge pile of a country house.
Cultures clash and unhappiness prevails. Great cast but very thin plot. Just three stars.