Easy Virtue is a 2008 movie starring Jessica Biel and Colin Firth (among others). Its about a young American racing driver’s marriage to a staid Englishman and how she causes trouble with his family. Based on a play by Noel Coward.
Larita Huntingdon is a very modern woman – a racing driver in Monaco, she falls for the wealthy John Whittaker. When she has to live in his family home, it is a culture clash between the old world – that of John’s family, with their old world rules and regulations and customs – and the new, that is, the scarily modern ‘floozy’, Larita, with her smoking habit and fondness for jazz. With a supporting cast that includes Ben Barnes, Colin Firth, Kris Marshall and Kristin Scott-Thomas, this is a movie that will surprise you. A comedy of manners set in the 1920s, its main theme is hypocrisy as well as dealing with overlapping themes of war, love, loss and a changing world.
While Jessica Biel did an OK job of playing the role of Larita, I was incredibly impressed with the role Colin Firth played. He filled the role of Major Whittaker, John’s father and a man haunted by the war and the mistakes he made. He is clearly a tortured soul, indifferent, but he finds a kindred spirit in Larita.
The family dynamic was fascinating and the constant bitching of John’s family – the dynamic of a family in crisis, the dynamic of a family thrown together and kept together by circumstance – was put across in such a claustrophobic manner which befitted the old world-society it hoped to emulate. Noel Coward was a fantastic writer and he was so good at representing people’s social mores.
If you are a Colin Firth fan, a fan of 1920s society, or a Noel Coward aficionado then this is the film for you.
MY RATING: 4 / 5.