I was invited to see a screening of Cheri a couple of weeks ago. The new Stephen Frears film starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Friend and Kathy Bates. Lust. Seduction. Older woman. Younger man. Sex... I couldn't resist.
The film is written by Christopher Hampton, based on two novels by Colette. Ahhh...Colette. The naughty and risque novelist and sexual provocateur who published both Cheri and The Last of Cheri in the 1920s. Colette was quite the genius at both titillation and razor sharp wit, all mixed in with pathos.
It doesn't hurt that the film is beautifully shot in France, and the lush costumes and scenery are like treating yourself to a sumptuous dessert.
What a treat to see Michelle Pfeiffer in the role of Lea the ravishing courtesan with money and influence! She is still achingly beautiful, and in top form. Rupert Friend, who plays Cheri, is ...dare I say it, delicious.
The chemistry between Lea & Cheri is seductive. From the moment he enters onscreen, I was mesmerized. And when he utters the words..."Come here" to Lea just minutes after they've been reacquainted...well, the seat of my chair got a bit...hot. Their relationship is complicated. What starts out as a harmless romp soon turns into a love affair. And I was swept up.
One of my favorite scenes is toward the end of the film when Lea is sitting down to tea with other aging courtesans. The camera follows her expression as she watches another courtesan flamboyantly flirting with a very young man. Many emotions float across her face, but we are left with her being overcome, disturbed and almost physically ill. She sees herself...and we feel it.
Despite feeling like I had to chain myself down to avoid rushing into the bathroom when I got home to rue every bit of age on my face... I loved this film! If you want to be transported to another time and place, and crave a good story, go treat yourself. Do.