Chéri

Drama,Romance

Multi-talented and adaptable director Frears has produced one of his most dull, airless and conventional films Discuss this article

Multi-talented and adaptable director Frears has produced one of his most dull, airless and conventional films in this adaptation of two of Colette’s semi-scandalous, Belle-Epoque-set Parisian novels. It’s a shame, given the splendour on offer: Michelle Pfeiffer is magnificently attired in a series of to-die-for period costumes, playing successful, well-mannered courtesan Lea, who embarks on a six-year, protective relationship with callow Chéri (Rupert Friend), the kohl-eyed son of a colleague she’d nurtured and nicknamed as a boy.

The film is a sober portrait of unconventional love and restrained suffering that may be undone by its discretion and quiet irony. If Pfeiffer is occasionally touching – hauling back her emotions when caught off-guard – then Friend, doing a passable impression of Terence Stamp in his beauteous youth, is too passive an object to be truly moving. His crucial marriage of convenience to fellow ‘orphan’ Edmée (Felicity Jones) makes him as much a cipher as an emotional victim of the veiled, hypocritical and corrupt machinery of capitalist business that both book and film seek to expose and criticise.

Indeed, Frears is content to leave much of the film’s metaphor to exquisite architecture and design – notably the exotic, perfumed gardens of Chéri’s mother’s grand house – only compounding an impression of the film as a mere picture-book remembrance.

By Wally Hammond
Time Out Doha,

Cheri

  • Duration: 92
  • Released: Thu, 17 Jun
  • Classification: 18+
  • Language: English
  • Director: Stephen Frears
  • Stars: Michelle Pfeiffer, Frances Tomelty, Tom Burke, Rupert Friend, Hubert Tellegen, Joe Sheridan, Kathy Bates, Toby Kebbell

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