Thursday, April 02, 2009

Easy Virtue

This is the bubbling latest adaptation of Noel Coward’s play that first was adapted by none other than Alfred Hitchcock’s in a melodramatic silent 1927 film; but this Stephan Elliot adaptation is not melodramatic at all, as has the sharp darkish comedy style so particular to true British cinema and well, the stage.

The cast is extraordinary with the likes of Kristin Scott Thomas and Colin Firth, but even when Jessica Biel is quite good in this role I am one of those viewers that have a hard time buying her as an actress, perhaps because she is better known for her looks. Still her comedic timing is quite good and very similar to the other great recognizable British actors in the film.

Tells about a young aristocrat Englishman that secretly marries a glamorous car racer driver American (Biel) and brings her to meet his parents and she’s welcomed as the oddest and strangest individual, that's truly so far away of the family traditions and true British aristocracy uptight and stiff upper lip lifestyle that the contrast is hilarious. What happens to them all is a tragedy of time and place; but like the fate of the family pet – a cute Chihuahua-, is also hilarious and satisfying.

The period drama is extremely well constructed and great care has been taken with details, but this is a modern version of the roaring twenties as we have a music score that plays with modern songs performed in twenties style which totally adds to the fun of many scenes.

Kristin Scott Thomas is fabulous performing a character (the mother) that is venomous especially in her mostly hilarious exchanges with Biel’s character; all right her character is not pleasant to watch as she represents the past traditions, but gee she’s really good performing the quite unpleasant mother. Colin Firth is also great performing a somber character that definitively represents the future and it’s not until the very end that we clearly see why the character was how it was during the movie.

The film has been around the fest circuit where has been awarded two much deserved nominations for Kristin Scott Thomas for Best Supporting Actress at the 2008 British Independent Film Awards and the 2009 London Critics Circle Film Awards.

As many period British films and especially those considered comedies, this film is not for all audiences; but I do recommend it to those that enjoy the particular darkish tone/style of Brit comedies and to those that enjoy great actors ensembles with good comic timing.


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