Pretty To Look At — 2 years ago
The decor and costumes are gorgeous. Unfortunately, the filmmakers seemed to have made the decision to settle for making a beautiful film, while they could have made a great film.
I didn’t have an issue with the acting – I think everyone did solid work. At the end of the movie, I literally thought, “Hmmm, I wonder what the real Georgiana Spencer’s life was like?” Turns out, it is fairly close to the movie. Having to live with her husband’s mistress, the affair, the illegitimate child… It’s all true, a matter of historical record. With a plot like that, it’s hard to pinpoint where the filmmakers went wrong.
I think the main problem of the movie was that it never feels authentic. The audience is never allowed to believe that this is anything more than actors playing dress-up. Georgiana Spencer was a very modern woman – she was very active in politics a full century before the fight for suffrage even began. Unfortunately, the film decides to focus more on her appearance than the fact that this woman, like many intelligent, wealthy women of her time, was the leader of a salon where the brightest minds of the day came to debate the issues. The film leaves us with no sense of Georgiana Spencer as a woman of her time. Despite taking place during a time of great upheaval (war, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution) – anytime the subject turns to these matters, the music swells and the camera’s attention goes elsewhere.
What you are left with is the soap opera. The characters deal only with problems that are familiar to modern audiences. If you look at any of the great historical epics (from Gone with the Wind to Elizabeth), you always feel as if the characters are part of their surroundings and affected by the times in which they live. You don’t get that feeling from this movie.