Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cheri, a sumptuous, heart-rending delight of a film...

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 Their relationship is complicated. What starts out as a harmless romp soon turns into a love affair. And I was swept up.
The movie has a few twists and turns, and I found myself catching my breath in moments. The camera becomes the cruel eye of youth and there are flashes when it is on Lea and you can visibly see where this will end. Lea's life is in the past, and Cheri's is just beginning. But, they never expected to fall in love...

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.

And the younger man/older woman thing? Well, I never used to get that. Until Er...recant, RECANT...

Movie still photographs courtesy of Miramax Films.

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  1. Despite somewhat mixed reviews elsewhere, I think I'll go with your recommendation.

  2. I'm dying (DYING) to see this. Lucky you!

    Can't wait. Great review, my friend! And...what Flutter said. :-)

  3. Michelle Pfieffer is probably the most beautiful woman on the planet. Does she age? Maybe she's on that Reservatol I keep hearing about. Maybe I should get some.

  4. great review - i probably would have passed on this without it.

    It's kind of good that our kids are so young, so we don't have to get into that uncomfortable situation. You know, my boyfriend is younger than my son? Eeeww!

  5. Oh, THAT Cheri! [pauses to search in basement boxes of books]

    Mmmm....must see this as part of my research before my Paris trip.

  6. Michelle Pfeiffer is pflawless. Not to mention truly talented. I'm glad she found a movie that matched those. I will watch this movie alone on an evening when I need an escape.

  7. Oooh-la-la. Looks like one I can watch on a Friday night while Hubby is at work and Jonathan is asleep. Of course I'll have to wait until it comes out on DVD. But you know what I mean.



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