England, the 1920s. Dashing young socialite John Whittaker (Ben Barnes) returns to his ancestral pile with his spunky new American wife Larita (Jessica Biel). A hotbed of dysfunction, xenophobia and bankruptcy the family home contains his highly-strung mother (Kristin Scott Thomas), his socially removed father (Colin Firth) and his two bitchy sisters (Kimberley Nixon and Katherine Parkinson). It's not long before all hell breaks loose.
Writer/director Stephan The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert Elliott's very loose adaptation of Noel Coward's little known 1924 play is a disappointing affair. Coward's savage attack of high society values and the general hypocrisies of the age are supplanted by something more forced and uncertain in tone. The film's iniquities are amplified by a turgidly slow first half and a toe-curling soundtrack, which consists of modern pop songs, sung in a camp Cole Porter style. Still some great one-liners survive and a uniformly solid cast try their best to bring some colour to this portrait of the 'petrified circus' of family life, but Elliott's direction is too flat åand erratic. If nothing else Easy Virtue is a masterclass in how to make a laugh-free Coward adaptation.
General release from Fri 7 Nov.