"No Virtue To Be Found"
EASY VIRTUE, an adaptation of the 1924 play written by Noel Coward, is a lackluster feminist dramedy that tries too hard to be witty and entertaining. Although the movie contains a few laughable moments, the poor production values and less than believable characterizations, coupled with a feminist worldview, light sexual material, smoking, and messy moral resolutions make it a movie with little virtuous elements worthy of commendation.
The story opens with Larita Whittaker (played by Jessica Biel), a widowed yet fiery, independent American woman whose character embodies the feminist notion of the sexually repressed woman of the 1920s-30s. While competing in American car races in order to make a living, she meets a charming and youthful Englishman, John Whittaker (played by Ben Barnes). She falls in love with him and he with her. They marry impulsively and John soon takes her to meet his family in England, where opposition awaits in the form of John’s mother, Mrs. Veronica Whittaker (played by Kristin Scott Thomas).
Larita and John’s marriage is soon put to the test as they come to see how little they know about each other. Although at odds with most of John’s dysfunctional family, Larita finds an unlikely ally in the war-weary, withdrawn Mr. Whittaker. When a scandalous secret is uncovered from her past that threatens to permanently drive a wedge in her marriage to John, Larita must make a difficult decision to stick it out or to leave for good.
The movie’s overall storyline, though somewhat appealing with potential for a redemptive ending, is ultimately drawn-out and spoiled by its messy, immoral resolution. The character of Larita as the heroine of the story is unlikable and fairly annoying, while the other characters, with the exception of Mr. Whittaker, excellently portrayed by Colin Firth, come across as trying too hard to make up for the poorly written script. Although there are a few moments eliciting laughter, EASY VIRTUE is a dull, cloying movie that requires caution for its feminist worldview, light sexual material, smoking, and messy moral resolutions.
(PaPa, FR, FeFe, RH, L, V, S, NN, A, D, M) Strong pagan worldview where characters’ thoughts and actions are devoid of God, except for one brief comment by one character who says that the Lord Almighty can sanction anything he likes, including divorce, plus strong feminist elements of sexual repression and guilt with an avant-garde, female character who competes in car racing (a dominant male sport of the time), and light revisionist history when man refers to Thanksgiving as the celebration of the annihilation of an entirely indigenous people group; two obscenities and one profanity; theme of euthanasia and family dog killed when a character accidentally sits on him; light, mostly implied sexual content includes married couple kisses multiple times, two scenes of implied married sex where during one instance sighing sounds are heard by the whole household, man makes a few minor references to having sexual relations with his wife, woman makes minor unintended sexual reference, adulterous actions in which two characters leave their spouses and join up together in the end, and girl dances the cancan without any underwear on her lower half to attract the attention of a man; brief glimpses of girl dancing the cancan without any underwear, upper male nudity, woman shown in bra and pajama pants but she is mostly covered by a robe, and main character hangs a nude Picasso-like painting of herself on the wall; alcohol use depicted with characters drinking glasses of wine at dinner and at party, and butler drinks from bottle of wine; smoking depicted by almost all characters throughout movie seeing as story is set in early 1930s; and, main character in the past helped her husband kill himself so he would no longer suffer from a fatal disease and the movie tries to justify her actions, one character in the past had affairs with women and movie makes no attempt at rebuking this, character delights in salacious stories and gossip, character acts out of spitefulness, and woman belittles her husband.
EASY VIRTUE opens on Larita, a widowed yet fiery, independent American woman whose character embodies the feminist notion of the sexually repressed woman of the 1920s-30s. She falls in love and impulsively marries John Whittaker, a young Englishman. John takes her to meet his family in England where opposition awaits in the form of his mother, Mrs. Veronica Whittaker. Their marriage is put to the test. Then, when a scandalous secret is uncovered from Larita’s past, Larita is forced to make a decision to stick it out with John or leave him.
EASY VIRTUE, an adaptation of the 1924 play by Noel Coward, is a lackluster feminist dramedy that tries too hard to be witty and entertaining. Larita, the story’s supposed heroine, is unlikable and fairly annoying, while the other characters, with the exception of Mr. Whittaker (excellently portrayed by Colin Firth), come across as trying too hard to make up for a poorly written script. Although there are a few laughable moments, the movie suffers from has poor production values and less than believable characterizations. In addition, it has a feminist viewpoint, light sexual material, smoking, and messy moral resolutions.