The Duchess

Rated 3.0

The life of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (Keira Knightley), as adapted from Amanda Foreman’s book by writers Jeffrey Hatcher and Anders Thomas Jensen and director Saul Dibb. The movie has fine performances and is reasonably true to the facts—the Duchess’ strained ménage à trois with her cold-fish husband (Ralph Fiennes) and her best friend (Hayley Atwell), her political activism, her affair with a future prime minister (Dominic Cooper). But the Masterpiece Theatre dignity is undermined by sloppy writing and a swarm of careless anachronisms (note to writers: Englishmen didn’t “make deals” in the 1770s, they “struck bargains;” even today, they don’t “run for election,” they “stand for office.”) And in true old-Hollywood fashion, the movie covers over 20 years while the cast ages not a single day.