Mini Movie Review – The Duke of Burgundy, 2014

It took me a while to write this review because I was really wrestling with whether I liked The Duke of Burgundy or not. I think I have decided that while I do not like it due to one major overriding problem, it is an interesting film that takes just a unique enough angle on its material that I can’t say it’s a “bad” or “unsuccessful” film in any regard.

I’d like to keep this review as spoiler free as possible, since one of the best things about The Duke of Burgundy is the way it reveals information. So that being said, what’s great about this movie is it depicts a particular kind of relationship not often seen or explored on film. And it treats it with respect which I think we see even less. So I really appreciate that about this movie. Now, that being said, what didn’t work for me and made this ultimately fall flat is it ends up being, in my mind, a very standard, very typical relationship drama. I’ve seen this movie before, perhaps hundreds of times at this point. Certainly, I’ve never seen it in this context. But I have certainly seen it before.

And perhaps the point is – sure, this looks weird to you on the outside, but it’s no different than your relationship. It’s in fact quite normal, in that all relationships are hard. And while I find that an admirable message to be sending, what it results in is a relationship drama that plays out exactly as you would expect a relationship drama to, because you’ve seen this movie before. I promise you, you have. But kudos for taking on subject matter that few films have before, and treating it with the respect it deserves.

The Duke of Burgundy scored: ★★★☆☆

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Garrett Smith

Comedian of no repute. Co-host of the I Like To Movie Movie podcast and Movie Movie Live! the monthly game show based on the podcast.
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