Relative Values

  • 2000
  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • Comedy, Romance

This breezy adaptation of a minor Noel Coward comedy benefits from splendid Isle of Man locales and the ensemble work of an congenial bunch of farceurs. As he has many times before, snooty playboy Noel Marshwood (Edward Atterton) mistakes infatuation for true love and proposes to self-absorbed screen star Miranda Frayle (Jeanne Tripplehorn). On the rebound...read more

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Reviewed by Robert Pardi
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This breezy adaptation of a minor Noel Coward comedy benefits from splendid Isle of Man locales and the ensemble work of an congenial bunch of farceurs. As he has many times before, snooty playboy Noel Marshwood (Edward Atterton) mistakes infatuation for true love and proposes to self-absorbed screen star Miranda Frayle (Jeanne Tripplehorn). On the rebound from Hollywood hunk Don Lucas (Billy Baldwin), Miranda plans to retire from acting and marry a real live English earl. The Marshwood household is thrown into turmoil as they prepare for the arrival of Edward and his fiancee. The most agitated staff member is Moxie (Sophie Thompson), the long-time personal maid of Edward's mother, Countess Felicity Marshwood (Julie Andrews). Although they haven't seen each in decades, Moxie and Miranda are sisters; Miranda abandoned her lower class family and carved out a new identity for herself in America. Moxie is still seething over Miranda's abandonment of their late mother, and quits rather than have to wait on her. But Felicity hatches a scheme to placate Moxie by palming her off an eccentric relative. As Moxie shoots daggers at a sister who doesn't remember her, Noel complains about his mother's latest whim. Realizing Miranda is an unsuitable daughter-in-law, Felicity rejoices when Don Lucas arrives to hobnob with his local fan club and to sweep Miranda off her feet. Not only must Noel compete with a matinee idol, but also he must contend with Moxie's bizarre revelation about Miranda's humble origins. Will Miranda make amends to Moxie and marry her way into nobility, or will she realize that she and lovebird Don belong in the same gilded cage? Although the direction is a little stately for the trifling material, the cast freshens up this dated comedy of manners, especially the daffy Sophie Thompson, the sister of noted actress Emma Thompson.

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: This breezy adaptation of a minor Noel Coward comedy benefits from splendid Isle of Man locales and the ensemble work of an congenial bunch of farceurs. As he has many times before, snooty playboy Noel Marshwood (Edward Atterton) mistakes infatuation for t… (more)

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