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The Duchess (Blu-ray Disc, 2008, Checkpoint)

Saul Dibb, Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes | Theatrical release: 2008 | Rating: PG-13 (MPAA)

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Movie synopsis
After PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and ATONEMENT, Keira Knightley continues her reign as the queen of the period film with this 18th-century costume drama. The corset-clad actress stars as Georgiana Spenser, the Duchess of Devonshire. With her marriage to the duke (Ralph Fiennes), Georgiana achieves an impressive level of fame as Britons follow both her clothing style and her political advice. But even celebrity and wealth can't act as a salve in her marriage to the boring, boorish duke. When he begins to flaunt his affairs, Georgiana is tempted to return to a teenage crush, Charles Grey (Dominic Cooper of THE HISTORY BOYS), to the anger of her husband and her mother (Charlotte Rampling, SWIMMING POOL).Fiennes's portrayal of the duke ranks roughly with his Lord Voldemort on a scale of beastly behavior, but the acclaimed actor manages to give him a level of humanity that far surpasses what he deserves. THE DUCHESS focuses on the lack of power possessed by Georgiana and, in fact, all women of her time, and the duke is the primary agent of her suppression. As she has done with other period films from the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN series to KING ARTHUR, Knightley brings spirit to the role, as well as a regal carriage that perfectly fits the detailed costumes by Michael O'Connor. Fans of history-based drama--Georgiana was real-life royalty who is found in the genealogy of Princess Diana--will find much to like in this film, which boasts impressive locations, lush costumes, and forbidden love., Historical screen queen Keira Knightley dons gorgeous period garb as THE DUCHESS in this film set in the 18th century. Ralph Fiennes and Charlotte Rampling costar in this drama that centers on the duchess of Devonshire, a woman who must choose between duty and passion.

Product Details
  • Edition: Checkpoint
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Rating: PG-13 (MPAA)
  • Film Country: USA
  • UPC: 097361400723

Additional Details
Genre:Dramas
Format:Blu-ray Disc
Display Format:Checkpoint

eBay Product ID: EPID71843421

Editorial reviews

"Knightley, who's in virtually every scene...rises to the challenge with more skill and emotional range than she's hitherto been given credit for."
Sight and Sound - Philip Kemp (09/01/2008)

3 stars out of 4 -- "[T]he film belongs to Knightley. There's a fire in her eyes that won't be extinguished, and it keeps us in her corner....It's Knightley who makes THE DUCHESS a royal treat."
Rolling Stone - Peter Travers (09/18/2008)

4 stars out of 5 -- "The cast and period are immaculately turned out, and events roll at an assured, stately pace..."
Empire - Simon Crook (10/01/2008)

"[T]he film, impeccably shot by cinematographer Gyula Pados on location in a variety of British stately homes, is as handsomely mounted and beautifully costumes as anything you could as for."
Los Angeles Times - Kenneth Turan (09/19/2008)

"[E]ntertainingly and sumptuously told....The cinematography is stunning, with gorgeous costumes and a sweeping score. All of this is capped by compelling key performances."
USA Today - Claudia Puig (09/19/2008)

"[Fiennes] develops a beautiful, wordless vocabulary of hurt, frustration, sadism, lust...and unanalyzed pain for his Duke....The actor creates particulars of time, space, class, and personality with one crook of a finger, one twist of a wrist." -- Grade: B
Entertainment Weekly - Lisa Schwarzbaum (09/26/2008)

"THE DUCHESS is a handsome historical film, impeccably mounted....It is about hard realists, constrained in a stifling system and using whatever weapons they can command. It is rather fascinating on that level..."
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert (09/25/2008)

Reviews & Research

Customer Reviews

Average review score based on 32 user reviews

100%

of customers recommend this product

Rating distributions

Created: 02/05/09

THIS STORY WILL GRAB YOU & NEVER LET GO

Features Actors:Kiera Knightly, Dominic Cooper & Hayley Atwell.
Running Time:109 Min.
Rating:PG-13

At 17 years of age, Georgiana (Keira Knightley) is bursting with excitement to marry Duke William Cavendish (Ralph Fiennes), only to realize the union has been forged with eternal emotional ice. Secluded and made to feel worthless due to her inability to produce a male heir for the Duke, Georgiana turns to social gatherings and political causes to fill her days, soon falling for Charles Grey (Dominic Cooper), an old friend who holds plans to become the Prime Minister. As William takes Georgiana's friend Bess (Hayley Atwell) to become his mistress, the Duchess has designs on her own affair with Charles, finding William's martial grip tighter and more destructive than she could've ever imagined when word leaks out to the public.

"The Duchess" is defined by its scripted urgency, with the writers (working from Amanda Foreman's biography) eschewing a formal sense of manner and distance from Georgiana's life to survey the turmoil. The feature dives right into the psychological toil the Duchess encountered as she embarked on a life-long experience that rarely stopped to ask her opinion. The picture is structured with primary attention to blunt emotional trauma, not the nuances of the problematical royal life, and the stripped down focus is appreciated to cleave away the wondrous ornate costuming and social square dancing, reaching for the delicate moments of frightening isolation and bitter frustration.


Knightley gives the camera her all, running through the gauntlet of emotions as Georgiana's life circles tragedy at an alarming pace. It's a true leading-lady performance, and it shows amazing versatility on Knightley's part.This movie had me fusterated towards the end, how different thing used to be for a woman, of choosing true love and leaving everthing behind or live the life you have.Hope this helps you decide.Thanks for reading! :)

2 of 3 people found this review helpful. Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Created: 11/09/09

The Duchess, AND they lived unhappily ever after!

Kiera Knightly did a wonderful job acting as Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice so I thought I would like to see her again in another film. I have always thought Ralph Fiennes has been overlooked as the brilliant actor that he is. The reason might be, because he is so good at playing the villain, and no one loves a villain. In this film he is the villain again in the form of a cold hearted husband. Their tragic marriage is quite an interesting story. The culture of the time, their wealth, what they wanted out of life and what they got. It is a sad but wonderful movie. You will be pulled into the drama of their lives and emotions. The scenery is wonderful too, as well as the costumes and style of the film, and it is a true story!

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Created: 12/05/09

The Duchess

By far on of the best films I have seen. Kira Knightly is beautiful and the story quite close to the biographical account of the Duchess in "Georgianna". If you like historical pieces and beautiful costumes, strong characters, and romantic tension - you will love this film!

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Created: 05/08/10

The Dutchess

Gorgeous movie with wonderful dramatic actors , set in picturesque scenery, the costumes in this picture are wonderful true to the period, the story is true, happy and sad but true, a great overall picture to watch, for those who love drama and love stories. I give a 5 star+++++.

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Created: 07/10/11

Amazing Movie

Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.

"The Duchess" is a wonderful costume drama based on the life of Princess Diana's ancestor Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, who was celebrated and scandalous in her time, which was late 18th century England.

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.

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