“Relative Values”

Relative Values is a play that was written by Sir Noël Coward.  In 2000, a TV adaptation with the same title was released, starring Julie Andrews and Colin Firth.  Andrews stars as Lady Marshwood, a British countess disturbed by her son’s public relationship with a “ghastly” American movie actress in the 1950s.  Her dismay is increased when he officially announces his engagement to her.  Lady Marshwood’s nephew, played by suave Colin Firth, adds a touch of finesse and humor in the midst of the British élite.  When the countess’ son decides to bring his fiancé with him to the family estate of Marshwood in Kent, complications swiftly arise with the unexpected appearance of an ex-lover and an “ex-sister,” not to mention the ever present eyes of their suspicious household servants.  With all events occurring in a matter of days, this film adaptation of Coward’s play sparkles with wit and the evident truth that the aristocracy is not different from the plebeians.  I like the way that American intelligence is scoffed at through subtle hints in the film.  American and British manners are sharply contrasted , and the intrigue that always exists between servants and their masters is mocked.  An ingenious, caustic satire that never fails to entertain…I give Relative Values 4 out of 5 stars.

Natalie Gorna

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