Friday, 29 May 2009

Easy Virtue: Movie Review

Easy Virtue: Movie Review

Rating: 6/10
Cast: Jessica Biel, Colin Firth, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ben Barnes, Kris Marshall
Director: Stephan Elliott
Ah, Noel Coward - such a witty way with words and so many ideas bursting out of the big screen.
Easy Virtue sees Jessica Biel's glamorous widow Larita impetuously marrying an Englishman John (Ben Barnes) in France.
But the problems begin when she heads to meet the inlaws back in England - to say the atmosphere is frosty from her mother in law (Kristin Scott Thomas) is a major understatement.
However, Jim (Colin Firth) is more accepting of his daughter in law - but slowly the divides and cracks begin to show - and ultimately something has to give.
Easy Virtue is a social comedy - but this version of the film seems, at times, at odds when it comes to deciding which decade it's in.
While Larita and John's mother seem to be firmly from the 1920s, Colin Firth's Jim seems more of a 90s man when it comes to his outfits. Jim's attitude is ahead of his time as well - although Coward's said this play is about comparing the modern women with the stuffy women of the late 1800s.
And it's this kind of mish mash which proves a little distracting in this flighty comedy.
Biel's not too bad as the sassy Larita who struggles to find her place in 1920s English society - essentially she's pitched against icy Kristin Scott Thomas - and Biel's positively charming next to the dour mother.
The main problem with Easy Virtue is at times, it feels like a play which has made it to the big screen - very little's made of the sumptuous countryside and manor around them - although with Noel Coward's words, it's all about what's spoken and said (and occasionally what's not said) rather than what's physically around.

Easy Virtue is pleasant enough and will pass the time on a Sunday winter afternoon - all of the cast turn in solid performances in their respective roles - it's just overall, it does feel somewhat lacking and a little bit out of time.

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