'Duchess' Comes to Sunrise
"The Duchess," an 18th century historical film drama starring Keira Knightley and Golden Globe-nominee Ralph Fiennes, opens Thursday evening, Jan. 1, at the Sunrise Theater in Southern Pines.
"The Duchess" tells the mostly true story of a late 18th century aristocrat who influenced British society in ways similar to her direct descendent, Lady Diana.
The script draws from Amanda Foreman's research for her best-selling 1998 biography of Lady Georgiana. Like Diana, Georgiana was constantly in the public eye. She used her popularity with the people to advance personal issues.
At the party where the film begins, we meet Georgiana, a lively 17-year-old with a crush on handsome young Charles Grey (Dominic Cooper). Observing her from a window is the much older William Cavendish, Duke of Devonshire (Fiennes), a man of enormous wealth and position. The duke is negotiating with Georgiana's mother, Lady Spencer (Charlotte Rampling), to marry her daughter.
Informed of the marriage agreement, Georgiana worries about whether the duke really loves her. She soon learns that her naively romantic expectations will not be met and that his love is only a desire for a male heir. She dislikes but accepts his numerous adulteries. The duke's initial aloofness and indifference turn to anger when the marriage produces daughters rather than sons.
Georgiana has only one close female friend, Lady Elizabeth Foster (Hayley Atwell), a divorcee whose husband beat her and denied her access to her children. Georgiana asks Elizabeth to join her household. Enraged when she learns of the duke's affair with Elizabeth, Georgiana later accepts her and her three sons.
Georgiana gradually compensates by immersing herself in politics and a witty and fashionable public life. She becomes a figure of great fame, popularity and scandal. Her childhood friend Charles Grey becomes her lover. This affair angers her husband and forces her to make a painful choice.
"The Duchess" runs from Thursday, Jan. 1, to Monday, Jan. 5, at 7:30 p.m. Matinees are on Saturday and Sunday, at 2:30 p.m. The film is rated PG-13 for sexual content, brief nudity and thematic material and runs 105 minutes.
The Sunrise Theater is located at 250 Broad Street, in Southern Pines. Movies at the Sunrise are ad-free. Ticket prices are $7 for adults, $6 for matinees, and $5 for children under 12. Sparkling water, beer, wine, sodas, candy and popcorn with real butter are available.
For more information, call (910) 692-3611 or visit www.sunrisetheater.com.
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