Actress Keira Knightley appears to have worn more corsets than modern clothes in the movies she stars in. Although Knightley has made a name for himself in films such as play it like Beckham (2002) and Love in fact (2003), she is best known for being the star of many period pieces. Here, we break down Keira Knightley’s best roles in historical films, proving that she truly is a time traveler of the big screen.
1. Pirates of the Caribbean
The first historical drama, and arguably one of Knightley’s best-known roles is Elizabeth Swann in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Technically, the Pirates of the Caribbean the films are not meant to be historical, rather they are adventure films with a touch of fantasy mixed in, set against the backdrop of English colonization of the Caribbean.
Elizabeth Swann is the daughter of the Governor of Port Royal and embarks on a pirate adventure that spans four films in which she is present. Knightley was a main character in the first three installations of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise – the curse of the black pearl (2003), Dead man’s chest (2006), and At the end of the world (2007). She made an appearance in the 2017 installation Dead men don’t tell stories, but made it clear that she would not appear in any Pirates movies again.
2. king arthur
Although the 2004 version of king arthur Stepping away from legend, Keira Knightley’s role as Guinevere solidified her as a rising actress. Its role in Pirates of the Caribbean is originally a damsel in distress, but her role in King Arthur was that of a warrior princess, which required her to lift heavy loads to accurately represent the role of Guinevere.
3. Pride and Prejudice
One of Knightley’s most successful films was the film adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice, in 2005. Set during the time of the Regency in England, Knightley received rave reviews for his portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet. In fact, Knightley’s performance in Pride and Prejudice earned her a Golden Globe and Oscar nomination for Best Actress in 2006.
Keira Knightley transports her audience to the 1930s in the 2007 historical drama, Atonement. Keira Knightley plays a young upper class woman named Cecilia Tallis who falls in love with her housekeeper’s son named Robbie Turner (played by Hames McAvoy). Cecilia’s younger sister, Briony Tallis (played by Saoirse Ronan) falsely accuses Robbie Turner of rape, and he is later sent to the Normandy beaches. For her role as Cecilia Tallis, Knightley was again nominated for Academy Awards and Golden Globes for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
In the 2007 film Silk, Keira Knightly goes back in time to the 1860s. She plays a Frenchwoman named Hélène, whose husband Hervé (played by Michael Pitt) makes a living from silkworm culture. Hervé goes to Japan to buy silkworms and falls in love with a mysterious unnamed woman (played by Sei Ashina). After Hélène’s untimely death, Hervé realizes that it’s Hélène he loved all the time.
6. The edge of love
Interestingly enough, the script for The edge of love was written by Keira Knightley’s mother, Sharman Macdonald. The story follows the life of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (played by Matthew Rhys) and his wife Caitlin Macnamara (played by Sienna Miller) and their married friends Vera (Keira Knightley) and William Killick (played by Cillian Murphy). The film is set in war-torn London and is an extremely complex story about the four people involved.
7. The Duchess
The Duchess is another film that broadly defined Knightley’s career as a serious period actress. The film was inspired by the life of Georgiana Spencer, played by Knightley in the film. She is married to the Duke of Devonshire (played by Ralph Fiennes) when she is very young and first imagines a happy life with him. She is quickly disappointed in him and is heartbroken when it becomes apparent that her husband sees her only as a way to have a male heir.
8. A dangerous method
A dangerous method examines the birth of psychoanalysis at the turn of the 20th century. Keira Knightley plays a young woman named Sabina who suffers from hysteria. She is first cared for by psychoanalyst Carl Jung (played by Michael Fassbender), and the two quickly become lovers. The relationship becomes more complicated when Sigmund Freud (played by Viggo Mortensen) joins us. Although many aspects of the film are fictionalized, its inspiration is drawn from real events.
9. Anna karenina
Keira Knightley plays Anna Karenina in the 2012 film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel. This film is set in 1874 and examines the Imperial Court of Russia. Anna (Knightley) is married to the important Russian statesman, Alexis Karenina (played by Jude Law). She embarks on an affair with Count Vronsky (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson), despite her risks. The film won the Oscar for Best Costume Design. Quite fabulously, Chanel created jewelry specifically for the movie and Knightley herself.
The biographical drama 2018 Colette follows the life of French novelist Gabrielle Colette. The film is set at the end of the 19th century in France when Colette (Keira Knightley) marries writer Willy (played by Dominic West), for whom she writes the series. Claudine. For a while, Colette is happy in her marriage to Willy, but she comes to blame him.
11. The results
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The results takes place in post-war Germany, when a British colonel and his wife Rachael Morgan (played by Knightley) are posted to Hamburg during post-war reconstruction. The couple share a house with a German family, and Rachael begins to bond with German Stefan Lubert (played by Alexander Skarsgård) following a loss, and the two begin to have an affair.