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Parents' Guide to

The Duchess

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Period drama delves into some heavy themes.

Movie PG-13 2008 109 minutes
The Duchess Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 16+

Traumatised the sh*t out of me.

It was pretty cool, till the rape scene. I'm sixteen, and i was disturbed by her screams. It might be okay for kids more mature for their age, but my eighteen year old sister was pretty shocked.
age 13+

Very interesting movie, but not for preteens or children.

I saw this with my 13 year-old girl and we had lots of laughs! However, parents need to know that there are 1-2 scenes that are not suitable for children. Both scenes I had looked up before the movie because of inappropriate things I had heard. But other than that, the movie was great, and we learned a lot about the time that was portrayed by the movie. Amazing plot, and would totally recommend!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6 ):
Kids say (18 ):

Pretty to look at but painful to contemplate, a female royal's life in the 18th century was far from enviable, as this visually splendid movie makes plain. Georgiana's anguished circumstances are highlighted by the perfection of all that surrounds her: her sumptuously decorated homes, her gardens, her jewels, her dresses and tresses. She has everything but love. But the movie, based on Amanda Foreman's biography of Georgiana Cavendish (nee Spencer, an ancestor of none other than Princess Diana, who herself suffered a lackluster marriage), is much more than the tale of a loveless coupling. It asks an important question: How far will a woman go for her children?

Lushly photographed and costumed, THE DUCHESS won't disappoint period-movie fans. But it probably won't stick with them for very long after the credits roll, either. There's a certain superficiality in the storytelling; the history is too light and glossy, and the movie would have been far more enjoyable if it had more heft. (For instance, Georgiana forgives her friend unbelievably quickly; was it really that easy?) Knightley is splendid in the film's peaks -- watch her flirt with her entourage and command a table full of gamblers. But when it hits the valleys (and there are quite a few of them), her agony is hollow, more acting than feeling. Fiennes rules, however: William is reprehensibly cold yet aching for connection. Somehow, he's not stripped of humanity -- even though he sometimes acts like it.

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