In this handsome period piece perfectly suited for cinephiles of all stripes, director Michael Engler (Downton Abbey, 30 Rock, Six Feet Under) and screenwriter Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey, Gosford Park) bring a fascinating slice of pre-Hollywood history to light in a coming-of-age story centering on the relationship between the young, free-spirited and soon-to-be international screen starlet Louise Brooks (a riveting, high-intensity Haley Lu Richardson) and her tee-totalling chaperone (a wonderfully nuanced Elizabeth McGovern). On their journey from the conservative confines of Wichita Kansas to the flash and sizzle of New York City, both women are driven by a kindred desire for self-discovery and liberation from the past. Based on the book by Laura Moriarty and anchored by a superb supporting cast (Miranda Otto, Géza Röhrig, and Blythe Danner in a key cameo), The Chaperone is a sensitive, resonant, and illuminating tale of women's lives in the early 20th century.
Saw this last night at the Orpheum in Sydney, Australia, and Ms McGovern (SO THIN!) was there to introduce it! It's a great film about an out-of-left-field topic. Witty, funny and Haley Lu Richards, (Who?) is a major find, perfect in the part. As is Ms McGovern, indeed it is perfectly cast in every part, even the smallest role looks like they belong in the time and place To all the Miranda Otto fans, sorry, she is onscreen for all of 2 minutes, and Blythe Danner for even less, but they add immensely to the texture of the film.
This is a film without a message,(well, maybe 'don't wear corsets') with a minor story, and great costumes and it all adds up to WONDERFUL.
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