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The Last Duel (2021)

King Charles VI declares that Knight Jean de Carrouges settle his dispute with his squire, Jacques Le Gris, by challenging him to a duel.
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Incluvie Movie Critiques

October 17, 2021
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The Last Duel: Examining Modern Rape Culture in Medieval Times

Trigger warning: Sexual assault, rape The Last Duel is a historical drama set in 1386 based on the true story of the last legally sanctioned duel in France’s history. And it was all because of a woman. Marguerite de Carrouges (Jodie Comer) accused the squire Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) of raping her. Despite the fact that the entire world didn’t believe her, she and her husband Sir Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) took the matter all the way to the king, where it was decided that Jean and Jacques would battle to the death. Although The Last Duel delves into rape in medieval Europe, the situation is extremely relevant to today. Examining the rape culture in medieval times, we can see the striking similarities to modern rape culture. Spoilers ahead. A note on the movie’s length: Yes, it’s long. It’s like three movies in one because it tells the story from the perspectives of the three people involved. And even though the build up can feel slow and occasionally clunky, it’s worth it in the end to have all three perspectives to showcase the way different people perceive events. Each retelling humanizes each person so the story feels grounded while simultaneously making the audience uncomfortable by knowing each character intimately. This subject matter of rape is not glossed over nor treated lightly, and it shouldn’t be. This subject is supposed to make the audience uncomfortable because it’s disgusting and wrong, and most disturbingly, is still common today.  The movie begins from Jean’s perspective. Jean is a man focused on pride and fighting. He is a classic testosterone-infused male protagonist. Jean spends most of his time fighting — whether it be physically fighting soldiers on the battlefield or verbally sparring with Le Gris and Pierre. Jean begins the movie having lost a wife and child, all his money, and his future title. He pins all his hopes for future happiness on producing an heir with Marguerite and rebuilding his reputation by going to war. Such a proud man was ill-suited to deal with what happens to Marguerite.  Marguerite and Jean’s relationship is complicated, to say the least. In Jean’s perspective, he is a good husband and Marguerite a good wife. They appear to have a marriage based more on equal partnership than the traditional authoritative husband and submissive wife that was the social norm and expectation during these times.  However, once we get Marguerite’s perspective, Jean is revealed to be not nearly as chivalrous and kind as previously shown. Jean carefully left out the way he often treated Marguerite as an object. He is ignorant of his wife’s feelings most of the time. Whenever they have sex, she never feels pleasure, but he doesn’t bother to ask what she thinks or what she wants — he only cares that he is satisfied. When he comes home from fighting and sees she is wearing a dress with a low neckline, he refuses to acknowledge her and calls her a “harlot.” When Marguerite is unable to produce an heir, Jean pins the blame on her, making her feel worthless as producing an heir is her one job, as if she were one of the horses he breeds and not a real person. In one of his most atrocious acts, he nearly chokes Marguerite to death upon finding out she was raped. He victim blames, asking if she incited it, etc. — all questions many rape victims still get asked today
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Movie Information

King Charles VI declares that Knight Jean de Carrouges settle his dispute with his squire, Jacques Le Gris, by challenging him to a duel.

Genre:History, Action, Drama
Directed By:Ridley Scott
Written By:Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Nicole Holofcener
In Theaters:10/15/2021
Box Office:$27,000,000
Runtime:152 minutes
Studio:20th Century Studios, Scott Free Productions, Pearl Street Films, TSG Entertainment