The Last Duel


Dahae Kim, Staff Writer

From history to Hollywood, The Last Duel, tells the story of noblewoman Marguerite de Carrouges, and the mystery that over 600 years later, has yet to be solved: Was she raped by the squire Jacques le Gris?


Reaching beyond this mystery is the shocking way that Marguerite’s story was essentially erased in the centuries after the event. The Last Duel finally offers her acknowledgement, but shows how easily marginalized voices, especially those belonging to women, can be forgotten. Delving deep into the complex system of gender, religious morals, and sexual ethics in the Middle Ages, The Last Duel tells the epic story of history’s last recorded trial by combat.


According to Marguerite de Carrouges, played by Jodie Comer (Killing Eve), her husband, Jean de Carrouges, had gone away. At this same time, Jean’s closest friend Jacque le Gris, entered their home and assaulted her. 


Marguerite’s accusations were extremely detrimental. If the rapist was found guilty, he would be sentenced to death, but if the allegations were found to be false, an equal punishment was ordered: death by way of burning at the stake.Her choice to rsk her own life and speak up as a woman during the 1300s was both groundbreaking and unheard of. She risked being ostracized by her community for not staying silent and subservient.


Furious, Jean Carrouges challenges le Gris to a duel, which was an unconventional way for disputes to be settled among nobles and the lower class at the time.Although the duel was between Carrouges and le Gris, the film explores Marguerite’s struggles as she tries to convince her family and those around her of the truth.


Directed by Ridley Scott, the film splits its focus between le Gris, Carrouges, and Marguerite, with le Gris and Carrouges’ characters written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, and Marguerite by Nicole Holofcener. This format was intended to make the viewer compare and contrast the differences. These minor discrepancies were intended to make the viewer believe the current narrator during any point in the movie.  


Although The Last Duel can be a difficult watch, it’s a movie that will stay with you long afterwards. Jodie Comer’s powerful performance makes her a strong contender for the Oscars this year. Matt Damon (Jean de Carrouges) and Adam Driver (Jacques le Gris), both recipients of Academy Awards and other prestigious accolades, are noted for their brilliant renditions of their characters, as well. 

Playing in theaters now, The Last Duel is a cinematic masterpiece that tells a gripping tale of betrayal and vengeance.