Story

Easy Virtue is set in 1930s England. When John Whittaker (Ben Barnes) brings his glamorous American wife, Larita (Jessica Biel), home to meet his family, he’s unprepared for their reaction. Larita is a fast and fun-loving person who instantly clashes with her overbearing, stuffy, upper-class mother-in-law, Veronica Whittaker (Kristen Scott Thomas).

Mrs Whittaker accuses her new daughter-in-law of having ‘easy virtue’ when she discovers that Larita has been married previously and has a shady past. Mrs Whittaker and her two equally obnoxious daughters set out to undermine and humiliate Larita. Larita must rely on her own cunning to stand up to these women and play them at their own game.

Larita finds an unlikely ally in Mr Jim Whittaker (Colin Firth). He has failed to come to terms with the futility of his involvement in the First World War, and war in general. He has consequently withdrawn from life and his demanding wife and daughters. He finds a kindred spirit in Larita and encourages her opposition to the family and their judgmental upper-class values.

Themes

Assisted suicide (minor theme)

Violence

There is some violence in this movie. For example:

  • Tennis balls are thrown at players.
  • Larita accidentally sits on the family’s beloved pet dog and kills it (not actually shown).
  • There are fox-hunting scenes.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above and some scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under eight. For example, a fox is shown caught in a trap.

From 8-13

Apart from the scenes mentioned above, there is nothing in this movie that is likely to scare or disturb children in this age group.

Over 13

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.

Sexual references

None of concern

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

There is some use of substances in this movie. For example, there is:

  • alcohol drinking at home
  • smoking throughout the film.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie. For example:

  • John and Larita are shown in bed kissing passionately and partly undressing.
  • One of the sisters dances the Can Can with Larita at a concert, without wearing any knickers. She bares her bottom.
  • Veronica Whittaker discovers John and Larita in bed, with no clothes on but mostly covered.

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language

None of concern

Ideas to discuss with your children

Easy Virtue is a romantic comedy that captures the atmosphere of 1930s England. The story is told with some superb acting, particularly by Kristin Scott Thomas. It is aimed at an adult audience and lacks interest for children.

The main messages from this movie are not to make instant judgements about people and to listen to the whole story before forming opinions.

Values in this movie that you might wish to reinforce with your children include courage, assertiveness and strength of character.

The movie could also give you the opportunity to discuss with your children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences. For example, you could talk about how judgmental and nasty behaviour embitters people, as well as the issue of assisted suicide.