Keira Knightley, The Duchess
Credit: Nick Wall

Thanks to her Oscar-nominated turn in 2005’s Pride & Prejudice, Knightley is no stranger to corsets. But Lizzie Bennet’s life was a cakewalk compared with that of Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, Knightley’s headstrong heroine in this true-life 18th-century melodrama. Even as she becomes a renowned celebrity and fashion plate, she must endure a villainous husband (Ralph Fiennes) who rapes her and forces her to give up another man’s child. For Knightley, 23, the film was, says director Saul Dibb, “a chance to take a character from late childhood — she’s married at 17 — into full adulthood, 10 years later.” It also teams her with one of her most accomplished costars yet. “When I said, ‘We’ve got Ralph interested in playing the Duke,’ we both took a gulp and went, ‘F—,’?” says Dibb. “But I didn’t for one second feel that she wasn’t up to the task.” 9/19

The Duchess
  • Movie
  • 105 minutes