Easy Virtue marks the much-anticipated return of Australian director Stephan Elliott (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert). Adapted from the 1924 NÖel Coward play, Elliott’s version retains the essential qualities of the original – a deliciously funny comedy of manners – while making it relevant to a contemporary audience. Late 1920s England.
Young upper-class John Whittaker (Ben Barnes: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian) returns home from holiday married to the wrong sort of girl. Larita (Jessica Biel: The Illusionist) is a widow and a racing car driver, sophisticated, fiercely independent and – gasp! – American. John’s frosty mother Veronica (Kristin Scott Thomas: Four Weddings and a Funeral) is horrified, his father Jim (Colin Firth: Mamma Mia!) enthralled, and his sisters are first delighted with, then despairing, of the new addition to the family. Pretty soon the battle lines are drawn. While Jim sees a kindred spirit, Veronica and her two daughters do all they can to sabotage the marriage. Larita does her best to ingratiate herself, but the gloves soon come off, with the only question being whether Larita and John’s love is strong enough to withstand the onslaught. Easy Virtue is effervescent entertainment featuring superbly playful and biting dialogue, lavish period detail, a wicked soundtrack and wonderful performances. Biel and Barnes exude both youthful passion and sharp-witted street smarts. Scott Thomas and Firth let loose trading delicious, sly one-liners, while also finding intriguing depth and real dimension in their characters. Elliott portrays a crumbling English aristocracy with verve bordering on glee, bringing his own wit and style to this sparkling confection. What results is a film that is as clever and funny as it is artfully crafted. Bright and breezy… a sweetly charming film. Empire Magazine Delicious. The film has an energy and a beauty that is beguiling. Totally enjoyable. Margaret Pomeranz, At The Movies, ABCTV