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4.0 3
Director: Stephen Frears

Cast: Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathy Bates, Rupert Friend


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Stephen Frears, the director who bolstered his international reputation with his Choderlos de Laclos adaptation Dangerous Liaisons (1988), returns to the annals of period intrigue over 20 years later with this melodrama, which reunites him with Liasons scripter Christopher Hampton and


Stephen Frears, the director who bolstered his international reputation with his Choderlos de Laclos adaptation Dangerous Liaisons (1988), returns to the annals of period intrigue over 20 years later with this melodrama, which reunites him with Liasons scripter Christopher Hampton and star Michelle Pfeiffer. An adaptation of Colette's 1920 novel of the same name, the tale unfurls in late 19th century Paris -- La Belle Époque -- where numerous courtesans (or female companions of noblemen who occupied the royal courts) have worked their way up through the ranks of high society. Two retired courtesans, Charlotte Peloux (Kathy Bates) and Lea (Michelle Pfeiffer), meet for some routine gossip; Lea then meets Charlotte's hedonistic playboy son, nicknamed "Chéri" (Rupert Friend), and a passionate, erotic affair blossoms for the next six years between Lea and Chéri. Eventually, Charlotte makes an aggressive attempt to interfere with the situation by setting up an arranged marriage between Chéri and the virginal 18-year-old Edmée (Felicity Jones), the daughter of another ex-courtesan, Marie-Laure (Iben Hjejle). Lea feels irritated, and responds by seeking out young male lovers during a vacation in Biarritz, but the attached Chéri is not far behind, and in seemingly no time at all the two resume their bedroom liaisons.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Twenty-one years after striking Oscar gold with Dangerous Liaisons, director Stephen Frears and actress Michelle Pfeiffer re-team with screenwriter Christopher Hampton for Chéri -- another movie about privileged, sex-obsessed French people who wear layer upon layer of fabulous clothing. Set in the waning years of the Belle Époque, the movie stars Pfeiffer as the wealthy Lea de Lonval, a celebrated courtesan who is approaching, we are informed, "a certain age." She has a lifelong frenemy in Charlotte Peloux (Kathy Bates), who also made her fortune selling herself to royalty. As the story begins, Lea enters into an affair with Chéri (Rupert Friend), Charlotte's libidinous 19-year-old son. Much to their mutual surprise and joy, they spend six carefree years together. However, Charlotte breaks up the happy couple by arranging a marriage between her son and the daughter of another courtesan. Although Chéri and Lea convinced themselves that their time together was nothing serious, the truth is that they fell madly in love, and that fact leads each of the lovebirds to years of misery while they are apart. While this description gives the impression that Chéri might be a typically staid Masterpiece Theatre/Merchant-Ivory movie, Christopher Hampton's reliably sly script actually contains a healthy amount of razor-sharp dialogue. Pfeiffer and Bates are superb together as gossipy biddies who both long for acceptance into high society, but know it's an impossibility considering their chosen profession. Thanks to their catty banter, the early part of the movie has some real bite. Pfeiffer also generates genuine chemistry with Friend, who uses his male-model looks to great effect throughout the movie -- rarely has a top hat looked so sexy. Chéri exudes a bored entitlement that befits his playful immaturity, and meshes harmoniously with Lea's cynical self-possession -- a mindset she maintains precisely because genuine love is the enemy of the courtesan. Sadly, the long middle section of the movie, when the lovers are separated, is a slog. Hampton adapted the script from a pair of novels by the famous French author Colette, but it feels more like the movie came from a short story that's been padded to reach movie length. Sure, the art direction, photography, and costumes are always a pleasure to look at, but our main characters take so long to do something about their unhappiness that they lose our interest. As good as the actors are, they can't get the momentum back when Chéri and Lea finally see each other again. At the film's conclusion, when Chéri comes to an understanding of how his life turned out, it should have the emotional kick of either tragedy or jet-black comedy, but because the movie never regains the passion it had early on, we're left not feeling much of anything.

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Special Features

Deleted scenes; The making of Chéri

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Michelle Pfeiffer Lea de Lonval
Kathy Bates Madame Peloux
Rupert Friend Chéri, Fred Peloux
Felicity Jones Edmée
Iben Hjejle Marie-Laure
Frances Tomelty Rose
Anita Pallenberg La Copine
Harriet Walter La Loupiote
Bette Bourne La Baronne
Gaye Brown Lilli
Tom Burke Vicomte Desmond
Nichola McAuliffe Madame Aldonza
Toby Kebbell Patron
Hubert Tellegen Ernest
Joe Sheridan Marcel
Alain Churin Priest
Andras Hamori Silver-Haired Industrialist
Rollo Weeks Guido
Jack Walker Monsieur Roland
Natasha Cashman Madame Roland
Jim Bywater Clerk

Technical Credits
Stephen Frears Director
Raphaël Benoliel Co-producer
Consolata Boyle Costumes/Costume Designer
Leo Davis Casting
Alexandre Desplat Score Composer
Simon Fawcett Executive Producer
Bastie Griese Co-producer
Andras Hamori Producer
Christopher Hampton Executive Producer,Screenwriter
François Ivernel Executive Producer
Bill Kenwright Producer
Darius Khondji Cinematographer
Alan Macdonald Production Designer
Cameron Mccracken Co-producer,Executive Producer
Thom Mount Producer
Daniel Phillips Makeup
Richard Temple Executive Producer
Ralf Schmitz Co-producer
Tracey Seaward Producer
Victoria Thomas Casting
Lucia Zucchetti Editor

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Cheri
1. Belle Epoque [5:43]
2. Normandy [4:25]
3. Just a Few Weeks [4:36]
4. Grandchildren [6:32]
5. The Arrangement [4:30]
6. Memories [6:26]
7. Shape of a Sole [6:50]
8. Lea's Escape [5:57]
9. Lovesick [5:52]
10. instinct & Insecurity [3:29]
11. Back for Good [6:55]
12. Heart-Wrenching News [6:33]
13. After Midnight [6:33]
14. "We Need to Talk" [3:17]
15. An Old Woman [3:26]
16. End Credits [6:34]


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Cheri 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great movie. The cast was great and so were there performances. This movie is fun, sexy, and just overall wonderful. The visuals are my favorite. There are some great shots in this movie. There are moments where the movie moves a little show but overall it was great. And the music score was probably one of the best i've heard in a long time. Excellent music score.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago