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Duchess (Blu-ray)

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Product Overview

Academy Award nominees Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes star in The Duchess -- the compelling true story of a lavish world filled with smoldering passion, heartbreaking deception and stifling demands. Beloved by a nation but betrayed by her husband, Georgiana Spencer -- the Duchess of Devonshire and "Empress of Fashion" -- faced an agonizing choice between responsibility and love. This gripping portrayal of England's "It Girl" has won acclaim from audiences and critics alike. She was vivacious. She was heroic. She was The Duchess.


Studio Paramount
SKU 210405040
UPC 097361400747
UPC 14 00097361400747
Format Blu-Ray DVD
Release Date 4/6/2010
Aspect Ratio
Widescreen  2.35:1
ReviewSource The Onion A.V. Club
Review In Saul Dibb's The Duchess--adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher from Amanda Foreman's biography Georgiana--Keira Knightley plays the duchess as a freethinking fashion plate, admired by the ladies of London for her sense of style and her insistence that there's no such thing as "freedom in moderation." But her domestic situation tests her public calls for universal liberty, as her husband--played with creepily calm menace by Ralph Fiennes--reminds her that she has no real power in their relationship. He can sleep with whomever he wants, and squelch her ambitions at any time, just by threatening to take away her children...To some extent, The Duchess recalls Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette, in that it's about bed-hopping and courtly ritual during a time of revolution. Dibb isn't interested in delivering an audience-unfriendly art film, though. His Duchess is thoroughly populist and middlebrow, full of all the high wigs, thick powder, perfect diction, and straightforward dialogue that define bodice-ripping prestige pictures about silently suffering souls. Knightley's brand of muted iconoclasm has always been well-suited to just these kind of coach-and-corset movies, and as a result, the story of her character's fall from idealism to practicality becomes fairly moving. Dibb and company make too much of the parallels between Georgiana's story and that of her most famous descendent, Lady Diana Spencer, but at the same time, the "ironies of fame" material works well--not because of its specific application to the aristocracy, but for how it relates to the commoners.
Reviewer Noel Murray
ReviewRating 8
ReviewSource Chicago Sun-Times
Review "The Duchess" is a handsome historical film, impeccably mounted, gowned, wigged and feathered, where a husband and wife spend hours being dressed in order to appear at dinner to argue about whether the mutton is off. With Keira Knightley playing the duchess and Ralph Fiennes playing her husband, such a conversation is a minefield. The man has no conversation, addresses her primarily to issue instructions and is obsessed with the production of a male heir, who would have much to inherit, including the grandest private house in London, and Chatsworth, in Derbyshire, the favorite of all British country houses...I deeply enjoyed the film, but then I am an Anglophile. I imagine the behavior of the characters will seem exceedingly odd to some viewers. Well, it is. William is a right proper bastard without normal feelings -- a monster. How do you make love with the fifth Duke of Devonshire? You close your eyes and think of the sixth Duke of Devonshire. Georgiana puts up with more than we can imagine. When we see her tender and playful in the company of Earl Grey, it is a refreshing change. We do not see William and Bess bedding each other, and just as well. We hear them...This is not one of those delightful movies based on a Jane Austen novel. It is about hard realists, constrained in a stifling system and using whatever weapons they can command. It is rather fascinating on that level, although I would have loved to learn more about what the Whigs at that formal dinner really thought about Charles Fox's vision of the rights of man and the abolition of the slave trade.
Reviewer Roger Ebert
ReviewRating 9
Product Attributes
Video Format DVD
David Edelstein, New York Magazine An uncommonly well-crafted historical feminist tearjerker--both anti-patriarchal and a monument to motherhood.
J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader This is scandal-mongering fun that also lays bare the deforming power of the male aristocracy.
Paula Nechak, Seattle Post-Intelligencer addictively entertaining diversion that's as hard to stop watching as the books are to stop reading.
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone It's Knightley who makes The Duchess a royal treat.
Richard Schickel, Time The Duchess is feisty, cool and scandalous.

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