This is my second time watching The Duchess. I finally got my own dvd after checking it out from the library a long time ago. I had to have it for my own collection since it's something I see myself watching over and over again. I like it that much.
It is a rather gloomy flick. A lot of the focus is on the hardship Georgiana Cavendish (played by Keira Knightley) endured as the Duchess, mainly how the Duke, William Cavendish (played by Ralph Fiennes), treats her poorly as his wife. He's very cold towards Georgiana and only wants her loyalty and for her to give him a son.
You see in the movie how Georgiana isn't happy even though a lot of people admire her. She's beautiful and fashionable and successfully helps the political party her husband is associated with. But her unloving marriage to the Duke is a struggle and fills her with grief.
The ending is not a happily ever after, but what's intriguing is how(show spoiler)
The Duke isn't a scary guy, but he's incredibly intimidating since he has power over everything. Plus he is impassive and hardly shows any emotion.
There's a scene in the beginning where the Duke undresses Georgiana and takes her virginity. He's frigid while Georgiana looks uncomfortable and nervous. It was the opposite of romantic and obviously shows that this marriage isn't based on love. I was squirming in my seat as I watched.
There's also a rape scene where the Duke forces himself on Georgina. Nothing explicit is shown, but it was alarming hearing Georgiana scream as the camera stays on the bedroom door.
I thought the acting was superb. Fiennes's performance stood out to me the most since his approach to the character was subtle. He didn't overact it and didn't make the Duke seem like an outright evil guy. Knightley's was good too. I thought she played the pivotal emotional points in the movie very well such as when Georgiana confronts the Duke about sleeping with her friend.
The costumes are exquisite. I admired them as I was watching the movie.
My rating: 4 out of 5
6.9 out of 10 - IMDB
61% - Rotten Tomatoes
Note: Is based on a book, a biography by Amanda Foreman.