Film » Film Capsules

The Duchess

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There are a lot of reasons to like this historical biography starring Keira Knightley as Georgiana Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire (1757-1806), an ancestor of Princess Diana. One of them has nothing to do with the movie itself: Knightley, whose modest bustline is highlighted by the movie’s tightly corseted costumes, protested the studio’s plan to digitally enlarge her breasts in the movie posters. Somehow, we like her much better for that. Further, the movie, based on a book by Amanda Foreman and directed by Saul Dibb, is a dishy pleasure, all ravishing dresses, outlandish wigs, ornate sets and unusual sex — especially sex. Although Georgiana was an active campaigner for the Whig Party and organizer of political and literary salons, she was better known, like her descendant Diana, for her trendsetting fashion and unusual marriage. The movie gives only cursory attention to Georgiana’s political activities, thankfully preferring to focus on the sexier parts of her life. HHH

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