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A comedy of discriminating taste and dirty little secrets, the story is set in 1952 England, where Nigel, the Earl of Marshwood, woos Hollywood star Miranda Frayle, upsetting both his mother, Countess Felicity of Marshwood, and her former love, fellow Hollywood star Don Lucas. Right before the engagement party to be held at Marshwood, Moxie, the Countess's personal maid and best friend reveals that Miranda is her estranged sister. Crestwell, the Countess's butler, quickly devises a plan-but an inebriated Lucas's arrival at Marshwood to try to talk to Miranda causes all chaos to break loose. Written by
Q. Leo Rahman
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A delightful story P.G. Wodehouse would have been proud of.
My first thought when I first watched this movie was of how similar it was to the writing styles of P.G. Wodehouse and the famous English playwright Oscar Wilde. The storyline starts off deceptively simply and slowly builds in complexity until a frenetic climax explodes all over the viewer. It is virtually impossible to try and explain the plot to someone because it simply has too many twists and turns.
This movie is an unusual one for Ms. Tripplehorne in that she plays a glamorous Grace Kelly/Marilyn Monroe-esque movie star instead of her usual supporting actress role. I thought it was a lovely change and she did a stunning job capturing the mannerisms and acting style of the era. The little movie clip of her and "Don Lucas" in the preposterously titled 'A Kiss in the Dark' was so (very bad) Casablanca that I just had to laugh.
The story progressed beautifully with little touches of absurdity in just the right places, such as the poor unfortunate maid walking (read 'running') the dogs across the manor grounds. And because good comedy comes in threes, we see her three times throughout the movie.
But for me, the real winner in this movie is Colin Firth's role as Peter, the ubiquitous nephew-in-residence. His lines are delivered beautifully, but it is his facial expressions, and soft, unspoken mimicry of Miranda Frayle that really clinch it. His smart-aleck remarks are tempered with just enough Britishness to keep them from being outright obnoxious. It's lovely to see him in a role that must have been so much fun.
On the whole, I thought the movie was marvelous. It's full of deliciously sketched characters, masterfully crafted dialogue, very effective camera work, beautiful costumes and props, and of course, ridiculous coincidences that serve to drive the plot towards its inevitable conclusion. A great movie to enjoy yourself and also to recommend to your mother or anyone else with discriminating taste.
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