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The Duchess

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United Kingdom, Italy, France · 2008
Rated PG-13 · 1h 50m
Director Saul Dibb
Starring Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Charlotte Rampling, Dominic Cooper
Genre Drama, History, Romance

Beloved for her trend-setting fashion designs and her political activism, Georgiana Cavendish's fire and wit make her a beloved figure everywhere but her own home, where her distant husband's control stifles her. She soon seeks consolation in the arms of another man, but is faced with unimaginable hardships...

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What are critics saying?


Village Voice by

As a tale of mature self-sacrifice, the movie would be almost unbearably moving were it not for Knightley's insubstantial performance, which allows her to be fatally upstaged by Ralph Fiennes.


NPR by Bob Mondello

Director Saul Dibb, presumably knowing that this is pretty standard stuff for a costume epic, occupies us not just with the usual visuals -- of his star drifting through exquisitely furnished estates, draped in rich silks and brocades -- but also with some intriguingly offbeat sights.


Wall Street Journal by Joe Morgenstern

Instead of scintillation, the movie gives us a succession of discrete set pieces, as if the action takes place in rooms but not in the halls connecting them.


Variety by Justin Chang

A serviceable picture that offers all the sumptuous visual pleasures of a historical costume drama, yet little in the way of actual history.


Entertainment Weekly by Lisa Schwarzbaum

Fiennes speaks with his body what the script cannot formulate about what it's like to be a man apart. The actor creates particulars of time, space, class, and personality with one crook of a finger, one twist of a wrist. I call that nobility of craft; he's the actors' prince.


The A.V. Club by Noel Murray

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.

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