The Duchess

Director: Saul Dibb
Year Released: 2008
Rating: 1.5

Keira Knightley: Babymaker. Emotionless Duke of Devonshire (Ralph Fiennes on autopilot) demands a male heir from teenage wife Keira, but Keira's uterus can only produce girls, so when the determined Duke isn't having mandatory violent sex with her, he's also eyeing up other wenches (particularly Knighley's gal-pal, played by Hayley Atwell). As if they don't make enough costume dramas, this one charts very, very familiar territory (also covered by The Other Boleyn Girl, also released in 2008) about male cruelty and double standards: it's acceptable that Fiennes' Duke has a live-in mistress along with a wife (and all those mistresses on the side), but once Knightley's Duchess takes on a lover her own age (Dominic Cooper), it's suddenly an earth-shattering scandal. The BBC gets this sort of thing done before lunch break, and historical information is covered more efficiently by online encyclopedias or even a little known place called the Library.