A 24 y.o. wrestler/McJob man meets a mom 20+ years older at group therapy for family of murder victims (sister and husband). He helps her deaf teenage son. She invites him to weddings. They await convictions on the murder trials.
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 lonely. 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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A film that fails to ignite much interest. Not for the first time in recent memory Pfeiffer plays the older woman in love with a younger man, in this case one much younger. Scorsese and Pfeiffer covered some of this same territory in The Age of Innocence, and to much better effect. She is a courtesan, he the son of another famous courtesan. He has led an indolent life, spoiled throughout his entire existence. As a result he has grown to manhood completely divorced from any feelings for anyone. Instead he allows himself to be forced into a hastily arranged marriage by his ambitious mother, to a young woman he neither loves nor cares for. He is indifferent to his wife and drifts back and forth between the two women.
The script is pretty nondescript in places. Pfeiffer has a few decent lines and still radiates enough screen presence to carry some scenes, and Bates matches her well. Most of the problems with this film are based on the male character Cheri (Friend). He is left with too little too late for us to care about his fate. lnstead he allows himself to have his opinions formed for him by his mother and and Lea who also does much of what passes for thinking on his behalf as well. He is married off to a woman he doesn't love, and then proceeds to drift between her and his lover without ever showing any real sense of commitment to either.
Due to the limitations of the script and his character, he comes across as only half formed, and too many scenes end with him staring blankly into the camera, looking quite vacuous, and a penny for his thoughts would be an understatement of inflation. lt is not easy to know which audience this movie is aimed at. It is not quite glamorous enough to be mainstream nor is it memorable enough to be art-house. As a result it meanders along without ever really being anything more than an exercise in self indulgence. That is a pity as l was expecting a fair bit more from those involved.
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