Saul Dibb has come a long way from Bullet Boy – his gritty tale set on a London housing estate. His latest is The Duchess with Keira Knightley, based on the real-life tale of an 18th Century aristocrat whose 'there are three people in this unhappy marriage' bears an uncanny resemblance to her descendant – one Diana Spencer. Both Dibb and Knightley have denied there is any link with the late Princess of Wales, but in truth the marketing of the film has played on the connection for months.
I’m happy to report the film is well-made and well-played with Ralph Fiennes the up-tight husband to the charismatic, flirty Georgiana, who is doomed from the moment her mother played by Charlotte Rampling obliges her to marry the well-connected Duke of Devonshire. It’s Knightley’s best acting turn since the somewhat similar Pride and Prejudice - bearing in mind her acting is usually a succession of infinitesimally changeable moues.
Look out for Fiennes niece Mercy Tiffin, who plays a young Georgiana.
Here’s a little-known fact: afternoon tea was invented by the Duchess of Bedford, but it was the Duchess of Devonshire who has a dalliance with Earl Grey.
See a trailer here