Between world wars, the Whittaker's estate is sinking; only the iron will of Mrs. Whittaker staves off bankruptcy while she awaits her son John's return from the continent. To her dismay, he brings a bride: an American widow who races cars. The bride, Larita, thinks she and John will visit and then go to London, where he'll work and she'll race. But John is to the manor born, and mother is nothing if not a master at plans and manipulation. Soon it's all-out war between mother and bride, with John's father, a burnt out veteran of the Great War, in the bride's corner ineffectually. Mother has a plan to join with the neighboring estate; only Larita is in her way. Can't we all get along? Written by
John Whittaker (Barnes) is travelling and falls in love with beautiful American divorcée, Larita (Biel). After spontaneously getting married, John brings her back to his stately home in England, where although many warm to her, she is largely frowned upon especially by his formidable mother, Veronica (Scott Thomas), who makes her stay as uncomfortable as possible. Based on the original play by Noel Coward, 'Easy Virtue' encompasses sharp wit, romance and drama; and although it is set in 1920s England, it is far from the typical period drama that might be expected. The soundtrack is slightly risky in places with its rearrangement of contemporary songs to period-music; but this can be overlooked for everything else the film has to offer. Firth supplies brilliant one-liners as the war-weary husband of Veronica. Biel has a captivating presence, bringing sexiness and classic Hollywood glamour to the screen; whilst Thomas, in total opposition, plays the stiff-upper-lipped English mother-in-law to perfection. A thoroughly enjoyable British comedy.
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