Keira Knightley in The Duchess (2008)

Pass the Duchess On

As a teen Georgiana (Keira Knightley), with a little bit of manipulation by her mother Lady Spencer (Charlotte Rampling), was chosen by The Duke of Devonshire (Ralph Fiennes) who required a young bride to give him a male heir. And she quickly becomes popular amongst the public who enjoy her sense of style and beauty. But Georgiana soon discovers that the marriage is only one of function especially when The Duke moves in Lady Bess (Hayley Atwell) who is his mistress. Her husband's coldness towards her leads to Georgiana to fall for the handsome Charles Grey (Dominic Cooper) a rising young politician. But her secret liaisons don't go unnoticed by the Duke who seeks to stamp it out quickly.

Wouldn't it be fun if time travel did exist and we went back in time only to discover that certain things we were taught as history were in fact utter rubbish and little more than speculation. One of the periods which I would surprisingly like to go would be to the second half of the 18th century and discover how much truth there is to the story of "The Duchess". I say surprisingly as the era doesn't interest me but with Princess Diana having been related to Georgiana and the movie intentionally playing on the similarities I would love to know how much truth there is to it and not just from what others say are the facts.

Dominic Cooper in The Duchess (2008)

So those similarities. Well we have Georgiana picked to be a wife to be beautiful and have a male heir; we have her bucking protocol by wanting to mother her own children, we have her popularity with the people and sense of style. But of course there is the loveless marriage where The Duke takes a lover and in the end Georgiana does so as well. To me whilst an entertaining idea it seems too contrived to be real with those comparisons made too obvious.

Once you get passed the similarities what you have left is a well produced period drama with a cast who are at home in this sort of costume heavy drama and beautiful sets and of course costumes. The thing is that whilst some love these sorts of period costume dramas I am not such a fan and sadly the storyline is too contrived for it to make up for all the period acting which whilst good is not really my sort of thing.

What this all boils down to is that "The Duchess" is a nice production and I am sure there will be those who love the comparison storyline between the story of Georgiana and her relative Diana but for me it was too contrived to really work.