Easy Virtue Reviews
Unfortunately it was an inconsistent bore leading up to that brilliance.
The other thing, this coming from a more serious critique, Colin Firth was excellent in this movie, but sadly he stood alone in his superior acting in this film. Don't get me wrong the film was not in any sense awful, but some of the actors, but more so in this case actresses, did not meld well and did not bounce awesome acting energy off each other, but as my friend Emma put it, this was a good film for miss honey buns to act as not just the pretty girl. All things considered, with the sad camera work and the not so excellent use of the wonderful english countryside that so many directors have grasped, and sadly Mr. Elliot did not. It's funny, but I did find a twinge of a Luhrmann feel lol, but I guess you'll just have to see what I mean.
Jessica Biel is surprisingly good in this film; she was very likeable and charming. Kristin Scott Thomas gives a good performance as John's disapproving mother Veronica and Colin Firth is also very likeable and sympathetic in this. I felt however that the film didn't take itself seriously at times and tried to be a bit to funny and added bad gags such as accidentally killing the family chihuahua by sitting on it (to me that's a bit ludicrous, how can you kill a dog by sitting on it? I don't know if that was in the original play). I feel that the film would have been a bit better if it didn't try to be funny. Also I felt it lacked emotion an depth at times. Other than that it was a fairly entertaining and interesting film with decent performances from it's cast. I think it's a film that someone with disapproving in-laws can relate to. It's a decent watch. I give it 65%.
Larita (Jessica Biel) is a beautiful young widow who, on a whim, marries John (Ben Barnes), a British man in his '20s that doesn't know what love is but does what he's told. Larita is quite a few years older than her new husband, who is more of a man-child than anything, yet the pair get along with giddiness that lights up the screen ... at first.
Immediately after their elopement, John takes Larita to his family's house in England. They don't live in the moors of "Wuthering Heights" like one gets used to, but it still has the light air of darkness. Not to suggest the film isn't as light as a feather. Once the newlyweds arrive, instantly John's mother Veronica (Kristin Scott Thomas) takes an instant dislike to Larita, whom she bills as a floozy. His father, Jim (Colin Firth), on the other hand, is intrigued.
Larita however, isn't the kind of girl that allows people to push her around. She remains to have a cool façade constantly when in the public eye, and no matter what, Veronica and John's sisters' insults are no match for her. Larita has a tainted past, but doesn't let that get in the way of anything.
Biel in most cases, is not an actress that you would pick out as having a vampy, silent movie look, yet she's perfect as the gorgeous American wife that culture shocks her husband's British family. It would be hard to say she's reminiscent of Jean Harlow, because she doesn't have that light air of trampiness that latter always carried around. Larita is the kind of character that's a bit selfish, but she draws you in to the point where it's hard to dislike her. She's kind of a sexy Mary Astor with blonde hair-- she's smart, pretty, and knows how to manipulate people. Biel has only given a handful of good performances, and this is one of them.
Stephen Elliott, who directs with much adoration to both his actors and his designer clearly loves painting the gorgeous '20s, whether they're roaring or not. The costumes are beautiful but simple, the scenery stunning, and the music zips along with jazzy flow. The film itself revolves around a small group of people, but all are much fun to watch, whether they're good or not.
The dialogue is wonderful to listen to-- while it isn't always "funny", it's intelligent and is written with a keen sense of wit. Conversations flow fluidly, and insults are always passed around with sheer politeness. It does a terrific job of painting all of its characters-- for the most part, the film is like a play, as it doesn't change scenery and relies heavily on its cast. And lucky for us, it's got a good one.
Thomas and Firth round out the superb ensemble, with their nearly effortless talent. Thomas is always great at being the tart, domineering character (though her recent work in French movies have expanded this), and Firth suits the role of the somewhat dumpy yet sharp father that doesn't get as much screen time as he should.
"Easy Virtue" however, is all surface. It's hard to not thoroughly enjoy a film with as great of performances as this one or as well-written of a script, yet it all feels largely aimless and empty. It moves around with attempted zaniness, but the narcissism of most of the characters overshadows it and ultimately drags the film down. You can't truly call the film style over substance, but it is definitely sumptuous style over decent substance.