Critic Reviews



Based on 34 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
The A.V. Club
Thoroughly populist and middlebrow, full of all the high wigs, thick powder, perfect diction, and straightforward dialogue that define bodice-ripping prestige pictures about silently suffering souls.
Fiennes speaks with his body what the script cannot formulate about what it's like to be a man apart. The actor creates particulars of time, space, class, and personality with one crook of a finger, one twist of a wrist. I call that nobility of craft; he's the actors' prince.
Rolling Stone
It's Knightley who makes The Duchess a royal treat.
The Hollywood Reporter
Keira Knightley is a terrific choice to play the 18th century socialite.
A serviceable picture that offers all the sumptuous visual pleasures of a historical costume drama, yet little in the way of actual history.
Director Saul Dibb, presumably knowing that this is pretty standard stuff for a costume epic, occupies us not just with the usual visuals -- of his star drifting through exquisitely furnished estates, draped in rich silks and brocades -- but also with some intriguingly offbeat sights.
It has impeccable production values but feels like a "Masterpiece Theater" production of a Harlequin romance novel.
Village Voice
As a tale of mature self-sacrifice, the movie would be almost unbearably moving were it not for Knightley's insubstantial performance, which allows her to be fatally upstaged by Ralph Fiennes.
An overstuffed, intellectually underbaked portrait of a poor little rich girl.
Instead of scintillation, the movie gives us a succession of discrete set pieces, as if the action takes place in rooms but not in the halls connecting them.

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