WCW: Joely Richardson

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Joely Richardson, the daughter of legendary actress Vanessa Redgrave and director Tony Richardson, is well known for her acting chops as well as her astonishing good looks. It’s no wonder that since the mid-1980s, she has routinely shown up in historical costume flicks across a wide swath of eras. So, let’s look at some of the highlights!

 

Rebecca’s Daughters (1992) – Rhiannon

Based on a story by Dylan Thomas, this film is about a plucky Welsh village that bands together to stand up to their local aristocrat who is busy taxing them into poverty. Richardson plays the ingenue, Rhiannon.

Rebecca's Daughters: Joely Richardson Date: Ref: B421_P1491_004 COMPULSORY CREDIT: Sven Arnstein /StayStill/Photoshot Please agree fee before use Tel: 020 7421 6008

Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1993) – Lady Chatterley

If you love Sean Bean, especially Sean Bean naked, you’ll love the miniseries. For all the shagging, Richardson’s performance left me a little cold, though it’s hard for me to put my finger on why. Still, Sean Bean is naked, so it’s a win?

Lady C2

The Patriot (2000) – Charlotte Selton

AKA “18th-century Braveheart.” Richardson is far too good for this film, which features shitty costumes and Mel Gibson reprising his role as William Wallace in Colonial America.

the-patriot-joely-richardson

The Affair of the Necklace (2001) – Marie Antoinette

Richardson plays a very pretty Marie-Antoinette in The Affair of the Necklace. I always felt that, looks-wise, she was too pretty to be Marie-Antoinette, but regardless, the film is fun and the costumes are fabulous.

2001 affair3

Wallis & Edward (2005) – Wallis Simpson

Never mind that Richardson is approximately 100 times prettier than the real Mrs. Simpson-cum-Windsor, she manages to evoke a fair bit of Wallis’ spirit in the TV series Wallis & Edward.

Wallis-and-Edward-Joely-Richardson

The Tudors (2010) – Catherine Parr

Love it or hate it (we still can’t make up our minds), Richardson’s performance in the final season of The Tudors as Henry’s final wife, Catherine Parr, is worth watching, even if the costumes are shameful.

the-tudors-joely-richardson

Anonymous (2011) – Young Queen Elizabeth I

In an interesting bit of casting, Richardson plays a young Bess (who doesn’t seem to age between 25 and 40), while her IRL mother, Vanessa Redgrave, plays the old Bess. It’s been on my list of movies to review for ages, mainly because there’s a lot of WTF going on with the costumes as well as the plot, but I’m saving it all up for my eventual review. For now, here’s a pic of Joely looking glorious as Gloriana.

anonymous-joely-richardson

The Devil’s Violinist (2013) – Ethel Langham

This one has shot to the top of my to-watch list. Reaction was largely “meh” when The Devil’s Violinist came out, but 1) it has Joely Richardson in 19th-century drag; and 2) it’s directed by Bernard Rose, the man who gave us Immortal Beloved (which forever will make this film suffer in comparison, if the reviews are any indication). All in all, it looks like terrific eye-candy!

the-devils-violinist

 

What’s your favorite film starring Joely Richardson? Share it with us in the comments!

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About the author

Sarah Lorraine

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Sarah discovered her dual passion for history and costume right around the age of twelve. Dragged kicking and screaming to her first Renaissance Faire at Black Point, she was convinced she was going to hate it, but to her surprise, she fell head over heels in love with the world of reenactment and dress up immediately. Her undergraduate degree is in Clothing & Textile Design, and she has a Master's in Art History and Visual Culture. When she’s not hauling crap to SCA events and ren faires, Sarah enjoys reading true crime books, writing fiction, and sewing historical clothing from the Middle Ages through the 20th-century. One of these days, she might even start updating her old costuming blog again.

15 Responses

  1. Liutgard

    Hmm… I actually think that her sister, Gemma Redgrave, looks more like their mum. You should do one on her! She was in Howard’s End, but I don’t know if she’s been in any other period pieces. She is in the reboot of Doctor Who though.

    Reply
    • MoHub

      Gemma Redgrave—daughter of Corin Redgrave—is Joely’s cousin, not her sister, and Vanessa is not her mother.

      Reply
      • Sarah Lorraine

        Joely’s sister was Natasha Richardson, who also had a pretty good period movie career before her tragic death in 2009.

        Reply
        • MoHub

          Yes, she was, but Joely looks more like her mum than Natasha did. However, either way, Vanessa is not Gemma Redgrave’s mother; she’s her aunt.

          Reply
        • brocadegoddess

          Jemma Redgrave was in another period offering, the late 1890s series “Bramwell” in which she plays a woman doctor who runs a charity clinic in London. I enjoyed it all in all, though it was a little clunky in spots.

          Reply
    • Daniel Milford-Cottam

      Jemma Redgrave with a J – and she’s done quite a lot of period drama. She was in the Victorian lady doctor thing – Googles – ah yes, “Bramwell”, and there’s quite a lot of frock flicks in her oeuvre, mostly TV movies.

      Reply
      • MoHub

        I remember Bramwell. Not a bad start, but it got way too soapy for me as it progressed.

        And thanks for the spelling correction; I had forgotten that variation and was thinking about Gemma Craven, who does spell it with the more traditional G.

        Reply
      • brocadegoddess

        Oops, only just noticed someone got there before me, sorry for the repeat info!

        Reply
  2. SarahV

    Joely’s version of Catherine Parr was one of like 3 saving graces of The Tudors – she played her so warm, yet shrewd and stately (the real saving grace was Natalie Dormer, of course, who played Anne Boleyn with the graceful cunning of a panther… in cheap velvet and floating ruffs…. but a graceful panther nonetheless!!)

    Reply
  3. drush76

    Sometimes I watch Anonymous just to make myself angry. God, that movie frustrates me!

    I found “Anonymous” fascinating.

    Joely Richardson also appeared in the 1992 WWII drama, “Shining Through” as a member of the German Underground and a friend of U.S. spy Melanie Griffith. The first half of “Shining Through” is rather shitty. But once the film shifts to Griffith’s adventures in Nazi Germany, it becomes quite good.

    Reply
    • Kendra

      SHINING THROUGH. I have SUCH a soft spot for that movie! I’ve thought about doing it for Snark Week, except the costumes aren’t that bad — it’s more the production values (and Melanie Griffith!).

      Reply

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