Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Duchess: A Movie That Shows Just How Badly Women Were Oppressed

I wanted to watch this movie because 1. It's from BBC. They rarely do wrong. 2. It's a period drama with amazing costumes. 3. It says on Amazon, "A chronicle of the life of 18th century aristocrat Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, who was reviled for her extravagant political and personal life."

I don't know how the heck she was involved in politics beyond promoting her lover and introducing him to crowds, to be quite frank. That's literally all we saw in this movie regarding her politics, beyond a few witty remarks about freedom during a dinner.

BBC missed the mark with this one, though I'll admit that this movie really showed us just how very oppressed women were in the late 1700s, early 1800s. We were merely chattels, baby-birthing machines. If the husband said, "I'm going to have my mistress live right here, under your very  nose, at your very dinner table, and if you don't like it and accept it, I'll just take our kids away from you," that was law. By law, according to this movie, it was a husband's right, even, to beat his wife with a stick, as long as it was no wider than his thumb.

"Thomas Gainsborough Lady Georgiana Cavendish"
by Thomas Gainsborough - Unknown. Licensed
under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons -
But in all honesty, I hated this movie. Was it eye-opening? Yes. But so very miserable and they didn't show me what made this woman remarkable at all. So if she wore a giant feather in her hair, everyone copied her. Whoopee doo.

The movie portrays her as a woman who merely rebelled against her husband just long enough to get knocked up and then lived the rest of her days under his thumb, with his stinking mistress right under her nose. Not a very remarkable woman at all, not unless you give  her points for being accepting of BS.

Frankly, I wouldn't have wasted my time making a movie about her. Or if I had, I would have actually focused on this supposed political career or whatever she had.

A miserable two hours.

I rented this on Amazon Prime.


  1. The real story between Georgiana and her husband's lover is a portrayal of a dysfunctional family at its height. Not only did Georgiana accept that relationship, she gave her blessing to the 2nd marriage of her husband with his mistress before she did. The mother's influence in who Georgiana became is interesting too.

  2. I read that at the end. I could understand her behavior had he approved of HER affair. But he didn't. Double standard. Huge one. Ugh. Did you like this movie?