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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An American city girl in the English countryside - not good for one's stiff upper lip!
This adaptation of a Noel Coward play was great fun. It was full of great performances from an all-star cast, and some hilarious set pieces - involving a chihuahua and the can can, and a fabulous tango from Colin Firth, but I digress.

The roaring twenties are in full flow when John Whittaker has a whirlwind romance and brings his new American bride home to meet...
Published on 14 Jun 2009 by Annabel Gaskell

versus
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Francophile...pharmacist...floozy?"
The year is 1928, and young playboy John is bringing his new bride to his parent's country estate. His possessive mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) is fuming over the marriage and horrified to meet Larita (Jessica Biel), his outspoken, race car-driving, and slightly older wife. John's father (Colin Firth), an unhappy veteran of WWI, is the only one in the family who seems to...
Published on 4 Feb 2010 by Kona


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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An American city girl in the English countryside - not good for one's stiff upper lip!, 14 Jun 2009
By 
Annabel Gaskell "gaskella2" (Nr Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Easy Virtue [DVD] (DVD)
This adaptation of a Noel Coward play was great fun. It was full of great performances from an all-star cast, and some hilarious set pieces - involving a chihuahua and the can can, and a fabulous tango from Colin Firth, but I digress.

The roaring twenties are in full flow when John Whittaker has a whirlwind romance and brings his new American bride home to meet the family in their crumbling ancestral pile. Immediately a battle of wits ensue between his monster of a mother (the wonderfully clipped Kristin Scott Thomas) and Larita, a go-getter from Detroit (Jessica Biel). Colin Firth is the drop-out father still suffering from the stress of the Great War. Everyone is either jealous or in awe of Larita who as a city girl, feels totally trapped in the countryside, but she plays them at their own game, and there are skeletons in plenty of cupboards including her own to unearth! I also enjoyed a brilliantly wry turn from Kris Marshall as the butler.

I totally missed this film when on at the cinema, but the DVD was a joy. The soundtrack was an odd thing though - packed with the cream of Coward, there were some twenties versions of modern songs cropping up which make you do a double take. It was enchanting, but with just enough serious bits to give you a rest between the comedy. I loved it.
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94 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You're English, Fake It!, 19 Nov 2008
By 
Tom Radnor (Plymouth, West Country) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Easy Virtue [DVD] (DVD)
This is one of the best movies I have seen in a long while. It is very old English which I love. Kristin Scott Thomas plays the role perfectly and with every sneer and put down she has you laughing more and actually loving her more too. Colin Firth's classic moment has to be when he reminds his daughter she is English so she can fake it - pure English humour and so true!

This movie really shows the English aristocracy as most of us imagine them to be - silly, a bit pompous, stiff, anti-American (in a harmless way), snotty and into sick blood sports.

The comedy is more wit and intellectual rather than in your face humour which really adds to the whole effect. Everything is just beneath the surface but the way Kristin delivers her remarks is just gold. The moment in the stage show had us rolling around in the cinema aisles. That is worth seeing in itself and the audience was roaring.

As a Welshman in England this film really is everything about the English that I love and they are famous for so I really recommend this to anyone who loves a bit of good English culture, comedy and something set in "the good old days". I cannot wait for the DVD release so I can watch it again and again and again.

If you love the English watch this film and if you don't watch this film because you will love them by the end.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy Virtue, 7 Feb 2009
By 
E. Ward "'emmagleb'" (Basingstoke, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Easy Virtue [DVD] (DVD)
To reinforce a point made by other reviewers, this film is simply hilarious. I too spent the entire screening in fits of histerical laughter. A slightly rugged looking Colin Firth says what we all want to hear throughout the plot, much to the disgust of his on-screen wife, and together Firth and Jessica Biel provide the eye-candy for both parties. Their expert performances alone are enough of a reason to see this film.

'Easy Virtue' takes on the British aristocracy in a relatively unknown and under-explored period of history (at least to my knowledge, I'm more accustomed to seeing period dramas). The crazy characteristics of this frumpy age is taken on by Biel's character, a breezy, easygoing American who really DOESN'T fit into the family. The story that unravels is her plight to do so, with varying levels of success and hilarity.

This is a fantastic film, though a good sense of humour is required. Poking fun at we British is essential for the enjoyment of 'Easy Virtue'. It appeals to all ages, and will definitely be gracing my DVD player time and time again. Its not often that I pay full price for a DVD, but this will be one of them :-)
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Oh.......you're an American", 8 Nov 2008
By 
OEJ - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Easy Virtue [DVD] (DVD)
NoŽl Coward was just 23 when he wrote Easy Virtue, a satire on the English aristocracy. Alfred Hitchcock made a silent version in 1928, and now Australian director Stephan Elliott offers a musical twist on the jazz age with - get this! - songs such as Car Wash and Sex Bomb, performed as if written by Cole Porter - although as a whole it works, in a Merchant-Ivory kind of way. Produced by Ealing Studios it is set largely in Englefield House in Berkshire, Flintham Hall in Nottinghamshire, Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire as well as parts of Oxfordshire and London.

Hollywood star Jessica Biel plays the leading role of Larita Huntington, an American girl who brings sex and scandal to an English country house when she arrives as the new wife of John Whittaker (who she married on a whim in France) but John's father, played to perfection by Colin Firth, is soon enchanted by Larita - she's beautiful, she's a racing driver of all things, and she's been married before. John's mother, played exquisitely by a haughty Kristin Scott Thomas is plainly horrified, and things don't get off to the best of starts when her first frosty words to Larita (upon hearing her voice) are "Oh....you're American."

So when Larita is introduced to her new in-laws, Whittaker's mother Veronica is less than thrilled with her son's choice of partner, taking an instantly sniffy dislike, and a battle of wits between the two strong-willed women ensues. The two women employ fair means and foul to gain the upper hand.

This is a very enjoyable variation of NoŽl Coward's twenties' culture clash between upper-class English aristocrats and a brash and bohemian American. Originally written and set in the roaring 1920s, Easy Virtue focuses on the strained relationship between feisty Larita and her very much more restrained English in-laws, set against the shadow of what was then called The Great War (which had ended only three years earlier) and the financial pressures that even well-to-do families found themselves in the austere world of Post-WW1 Britain.

The film retains its period setting with a modern twist, including a cutting edge cast and music by the likes of Prince. The director retains the period setting but gives it a distinctly modern feel.

Kristin Scott Thomas is just perfect as the immaculately polite and stubbornly protective mother, and Jessica Biel impresses as the liberated, racy incomer. As the father Colin Firth is a man of discreet and uplifting depths, while Kris Marshall almost steals the show as the family's dry-as-a-bone butler . Things move along at a sparkling pace, and there's an idiosyncratic and very welcome touch in the musical choices, mixing up period gems and recent pop. Noel Coward and Prince? Elliott makes it feel like a match made in heaven. It is a droll and witty delight, a superb showcase for its cast, and a return to fine form for The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert director Stephan Elliott who is relentlessly concerned with how the movie looks and sounds.

The film's not staid, as you might expect from the setting; in fact, it's often downright goofy, as exemplified by the character of the unflappable butler and the cruel fate of the family dog. It's gratifyingly loose, and unpredictable moment-to-moment. It looks beautiful, it's enjoyable from start to finish - and it's very funny.

One small criticism is that the intriguing relationship that only begins to develop between Larita and her father-in-law is never fully exploited, a pity as both of these characters have some interesting secrets that if fleshed out could have made for a more multi-layered screenplay.

Some may be tempted to call Easy Virtue a "guilty pleasure," but there's nothing to feel guilty about despite the middle-class sneering at the Americans that in part gives this film a small element of its identity. It's as charmingly accomplished as it is stylishly lightweight, a rom-com with occasional flashes of real substance and overall a feast for the eyes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy viewing, 8 Jun 2009
By 
Michael Laurance (Kent, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Easy Virtue [DVD] (DVD)
A film that did not quite achieve a five star rating and seemes to have sunk without trace on cinemas around the UK. However, it contains a pleasing story, good acting and ends on a happy note. Strongly recommended for all viewers who enjoy the ' Four Weddings and a funeral' genre. A very good evenings entertainment
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy on the Viewer, 12 Dec 2010
By 
Ford Ka (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Easy Virtue [DVD] (DVD)
80 years after the first movie was made (by Alfred Hitchcock himself!) the play by Noel Coward was rediscovered for the screen by Stephan Elliott. The screenplay is somewhat closer to the play that Hitchcock's version, however, it was also altered, mostly in order to render the conflict more credible and interesting for the 21st century audience.
The result is decent entertainment for a snowy afternoon. The movie has some rather hilarious moments, guaranteed to make you laugh, although some may find them a little too much. The basic conflict of honesty against hipocrisy, however, which made the play a huge theatrical success back in the 1920s is largely gone. It takes a major bit of suspension of disbelief to take Coward's attack at hipocrisy at face value.
The result of the alterations has little of the original edge, it is rather a light period comedy which is saved by the remarkably good performances of Colin Firth and Kristin Scott Thomas. The younger couple, Jessica Biel and Ben Barnes, are doing their best but, quite apparently, especially for the latter there is too little to work upon in the screenplay. The score is quite interesting with a mixture of 1920s songs, some by Coward, and some more recent songs, recorded in a jazzy style and sung by the actors, yet the songs are usually lost after the opening bars so if you like them, you should look for the album of the soundtrack.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars British Humour at its Best, 31 May 2009
By 
P. J. Jenks "jenkspj" (Wiltshire UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Easy Virtue [DVD] (DVD)
I first watched this on a BA flight and was captivated for the length of the film: British humour at its best perfectly portrayed by a great cast.
So when I got home I bought the DVD to share with the family.

It is one of those films that can be watched again and again...it transports you to another time, makes you laugh, but also makes you face some of the worst consequences of the 1920s caused by the slaughter of WW1.

But unfortunate about the car used by Jessica Biel. More 1930s than 1920s..And the wonderful house, Flintham Hall in Nottinghamshire with its Victorian conservatory, influenced by the Crystal Palace, is considered to be the finest of its type left in England. Sadly it isn't open to the public.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wild for Wilde, 6 April 2009
By 
G. Crook "Waterloo tragic" (Sydney Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Easy Virtue [DVD] (DVD)
This film is easily one of the best of any year.Since Hitchcock only made a silent version,the witty and stylish dialogue and story has remained unheard for too long.
The subtext of an attack on the English class stucture through a cultural clash which has both hilarious and melodramatic repercussions,is brought to life stunningly and beautifully.The camera and artwork are rendered perfectly into the mood of the work. A tribute to all involved.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy virtue, 18 April 2009
By 
Elizabeth M. Ward (Clifton Springs, Vic,Aus) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Easy Virtue [DVD] (DVD)
Another magical tale from the writings of Noel Coward - beautiful transformed into a magical tale - terrific music - true english wit a film to be seen over and over. Colin Firth dancing a tango a must see.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Noel Coward Reworking, 20 Aug 2009
By 
underthethumb (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Easy Virtue [DVD] (DVD)
This is an hilarious reworking of the Noel Coward play with all the stars perfectly cast and on top form.

Set around the son (Ben Barnes) daring to marry and bring home an American (Jessica Biel) to their family estate while his mother (Scott Thomas) schemes to try and keep things together and the father (Colin Firth) tinkers. The interactions between the characters are acted out in true Noel Coward style making the film very entertaining.

Highly recommended.
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Easy Virtue [DVD]
Easy Virtue [DVD] by Stephan Elliott (DVD - 2009)
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