(No longer in theaters)
Jun 26, 2009
Director Stephen Frears and screenwriter Christopher Hampton did a sterling job of adapting Dangerous Liaisons, which centered on men and women who plotted their seductions with the steeliness of generals—until emotion undid them. They’ve attempted the same sort of thing with Cheri, based on stories and two novels by Colette about the unanticipated true love of a wealthy, aging ex-courtesan for her passive, petulant boy toy—after he marries someone else. But their Cheri dies a little before it’s even out of the gate, when the scene is set by an ironic British male narrator. Sacre bleu! Colette, who never resolved the conflict between romantic longing and cold egotism and dramatized the schism as lucidly as anyone, deserved less stiffness and more intimacy, not to mention heat. Michelle Pfeiffer is brittle in a way that’s not especially French, but she’s poignant and very lovely. Rupert Friend, on the other hand, is difficult to warm up to, especially with his features hidden behind all that hair. It’s not a good sign when you have to take the movie’s word for it that the lovers at its center are really, really into each other.