Thursday, August 12, 2010
CHERI (2009). Director: Stephen Frears.
"I love you -- but it's too late."
An aging courtesan named Lea (Michelle Pfeiffer) has a love-hate "friendship" with a former rival named Madame Peloux (Kathy Bates, whom one can't quite imagine would ever have made a likely courtesan) and at her urging takes Peloux' son Cheri (Rupert Friend) under her wing and into her bed. Then tries not to let it upset her when Peloux tells her that Cheri is to be married off to a girl his own age. Lea takes a new lover who bores her, and Cheri realizes that his life seems without meaning without Lea in it. Cheri is a very well-acted romantic story -- Pfeiffer and Bates are both in top form and Friend is appealing -- and the movie does have its moments as it delves into the realities of relationships between people of different generations. But all the pretty scenery, fine thesping, and some good dialogue can't quite disguise the fact that, ultimately, Cheri is a bit of fluff. Well turned out fluff, admittedly, but fluff all the same.
Verdict: Almost as insubstantial as cotton candy, but not without sweetness. ***.