A step up from Downhill and a smoking performance from the lead, Easy Virtue is still far from a classic. Larita is in an unhappy marriage to a bullying and sneering husband and finds some happiness in the arms of a portrait painter who, in an ensuing altercation and fearing he has murdered Larita's husband, tops himself. Larita is implicated in the divorce, heads to France to escape scandal... and takes up smoking... big time!
She then falls in love and marries a younger man but omits to tell him about her scandalous past and when he takes her home to meet his family things begin to unravel... and Larita takes further refuge in tobacco.
The cigarette shows, not how bad she is, but how bad she feels. She doesn't start smoking until the south of France and her husband's suspicious and unfriendly family drive her nicotine crazy. She's clearly not a bad person at all - her first husband was a brute and her love for her second husband was genuine - perhaps a little honesty at the start of their relationship might have helped. But perhaps this is really a story of how damaging snobbery can be.
Lesson learned: Check out his family before you say "yes"