Walter, 24, is a wrestler, competing for a spot on the national team when he learns of his sister's brutal death. He comes home to help his mother; he works out, takes a dead-end job, and ... See full summary »
During France's belle époque before World War I, elegant cars, mansions, and servants defined the lives of les grandes horizontals, the courtesans of kings and millionaires. One of the most successful, Lea de Lonval, is approaching a certain age when an older associate, Charlotte Peloux, asks Lea to take on her 19 year old son, whom Lea has called Chéri since he was a child. They become lovers and, to their surprise, the relationship lasts six years. When it ends abruptly with a marriage his mother arranges to the daughter of another courtesan, Lea finds herself miserable. Has she fallen in love? If so, do she -- and Chéri - have any choices? Written by
Iben Hjejle was personally called up by director Stephen Frears and didn't know she was going to star opposite big Hollywood names before she began filming her first scene. See more »
In the closing credits, 'thanks' are given to France's national railway, the Societe National Chemin de Fer, known as the "SNCF". However the credits have the letters out of sequence, calling it the "SCNF". See more »
We may think ourselves familiar in this day and age with the notion that whores of every description can very easily achieve fame and fortune. But towards the end of the 19th century, there what came to be known in France as the "Belle Epoque", a select group of courtesans, who became for a short period, the most celebrated and powerful women in the long history of prostitution.
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You can't really tell as far as Stephen Frears is concerned. After the sensational "The Queen" another film that is only slightly more tolerable than the dreadful "Mrs Henderson Presents" Here Rupert Friend in the title role is a delightful throwback to Oscar Wilde territory. You understand Pfeiffer loosing her head for him but not why he looses his for her. She's certainly beautiful but lifeless. She looks more distant than ever, struggling to find the tone of her performance and I'm afraid she never does. Not a glimpse of the Pfeiffer from "The Age Of Innocence" or even "The Fabulous Baker Boys" No sense of period or of intention. Kathy Bates is an annoying over the top caricature but Ruper Friend is the oasis that makes the aridity of this nonsense truly bearable. I had seen him before, most remarkably, in another story with another older woman, Joan Plowright in "Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont" He is an actor with, clearly, a few aces up his sleeve and I bet he will dazzle us with other surprises in the future. Here he's badly served by his director, co-stars costume designer, make up and hair and in spite of that he emerges as the only reason to see this film.
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