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DVD Review: The Duchess

DVD Review: The Duchess


A young noblewoman marries into one of Britain’s most powerful families and becomes the toast of London in The Duchess, arriving on DVD and Blu-ray fashionably timed for the new year and holiday entertainment on December 28th from Paramount Home Entertainment. Keira Knightley (Atonement, Pride and Prejudice, Pirates of the Caribbean), Ralph Fiennes (In Bruges, the Harry Potter series, The Constant Gardener) and Dominic Cooper (Mamma Mia!) star in the true story of the Duchess of Devonshire and “Empress of Fashion” who must face an agonizing choice between responsibility and love. Captivating audiences and critics alike with its gripping and passionate tale of a young woman and direct ancestor to Princess Diana who became a fashion icon, a devoted mother, a voice for the common man and an unforgettable symbol of glamour for the ages, “The Duchess is feisty, cool, and scandalous” (Richard Schickle, Time).

The Duchess is based on the life of the Duchess of Devonshire and the struggles that she endures with the Duke during their marriage. It’s a beautiful period piece that has everything it should: a great cast, beautiful costumes, and the most amazing sets you’ve seen in 2008.

Georgiana (Knightley) marries into one of the most powerful families in London and becomes the Duchess of Devonshire. Georgiana’s mother arranges the marriage and promises the Duke (Fiennes) that her daughter will have no problem in bearing him a son. Several years into the marriage, however, the Duchess has only been able to birth daughters. The Duke’s eyes soon began to wander as the eyes of 18th-Century men so commonly did. Georgiana befriends Bess Foster, the woman who at first actually turned down the Duke’s advances. Bess, desiring to see her own children who her estranged husband is keeping from her, soon realizes that she can once again see her children if she plays her cards right with the Duke. Heartbroken by Bess’ betrayal, the Duchess turns to an old friend, an ambitious young politician, and finds herself in the throws of a forbidden romance. Positioned between her responsibility and her true love, she must make a choice once and for all.

This is one of Keira Knightley’s best films to date, and Ralph Fiennes brings his refined talent to the table yet again to create a character that is downright hatable from the very beginning. At first glance, when this film first came out last year, I wasn’t that interested as the trailer just billed the movie as the story of “The Empress of Fashion.” However, there is so much more to this film. I was pleasantly surprised at its depth, and I don’t understand why the studio didn’t highlight the story instead of the Duchess’ fashion tastes from the very beginning.

If you’re a fan of history, of Keira Knightley, or of period piece movies in general, then you’ll definitely enjoy this title. And as usual, if you’re going to pick it up, check out the Blu-ray release which features special featurettes all in HD, trailers, and more. I would have liked to see more special features on this release, but the featurettes entertained me so I can’t complain too much.

Review by Emma Loggins

Grade: A-
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Emma Loggins Emma Loggins is the Editor in Chief of FanBolt. As an internationally recognized "Geek Girl", Emma updates daily on the latest entertainment news, her opinions on current happenings in the media, screening/filming opportunities, inside scoops and more.  She’s been writing on the world of geekdom and pop culture since 2002 and is also considered to be one of the top Atlanta bloggers and influencers!


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