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Ralph Fiennes, out of costume

Ralph Fiennes, out of costume

Painting of the 5th Duke of Devonshire

Painting of the 5th Duke of Devonshire

As a devoted fan of the real Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and as someone who enjoyed the movie “The Duchess” very much, I have definite opinions on all of the characters, and on the portrayals in the movie.

I decided that I am still a little frustrated that Ralph Fiennes portrayed William, the fifth Duke of Devonshire, in such a sympathetic light. Though, in thinking about it, at least Fiennes showed the flaws in the Duke’s character, and did not do what would have been tragic – make the Duke seem charming or especially sexually appealing, after all the Duke’s womanizing and emotional abuse of his wife.

It is also disappointing that the portrayal of the Duke is up for so many awards, when it is Georgiana who should have been (and was in some measure)¬† “a light burning at the center of the film”, as commentary on the DVD edition notes. Perhaps because I had read the book by Amanda Foreman, I still saw Georgiana’s light as the center of the film. Indeed, the story would probably have not been told if it were not for her flair, her fame and her fashion sense. And, contrary to some critics, I believe that Keira Knightley’s portrayal of Georgiana was wonderful. Knightley was able to portray the character and emotions in the range of an innocent young bride of 17-years-old, to an aristocratic woman having a passionate affair, to a mother and wife who has come to terms with her place in life. (more…)

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