Friday, October 24, 2008

The Duchess

If you want to visit another time and place when sex-addicted men married love-starved women and brought ruin and heartache to everyone around them, go see The Duchess, starring Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes.

Knightley is great as Georgiana Spencer (1757-1806), who at the age of 16 wed William Cavendish, the 5th Duke of Devonshire, and thus became the Duchess of Devonshire. Ralph Fiennes plays the role of the despicable Duke convincingly.

It's an interesting movie to watch if only to learn about the extravagance of the British aristocracy, the divide between rich and poor in the late-18th century, the value royals placed on having male heirs, and the elaborate fashions and architecture of the day. I loved the beautiful scenery and attention to detail. All the acting is superb.

The Duke was apparently just an awful man who cared for nobody but himself. The Duchess found that out on her wedding day. Later she acquiesced to a life of sharing her home and husband with the Duke's mistress, Elizabeth Foster ("Bess").

The themes of betrayal and loneliness are prominent. Also you see a moving picture of sacrifice, as Georgiana gives up her one and only love (Charles Grey) for the sake of her children.

Interestingly, among Georgiana's descendants was Lady Diana Spencer -- the late Princess of Wales -- who, sadly, suffered from the sins of the fathers.

1 comment:

Becky Williams said...

Hey, Mike...did you ever happen to see the movie, "The Other Bolelyn Girl"? We rented that a few weeks ago and it was also very interesting to see a glimpse into how the king and people of that time placed so much emphasis on creating descendants, even to the point of ruthless and destructive decisions. It was a sad tale, but interesting to watch nonetheless. "What tangled webs we weave", is what I came away thinking after watching it.