If you love films full of stuck up stuffy old English people that sit around all day and eat and brag about their lives to each other, you’re gonna love this movie.
I love a broad spectrum of movies and sometimes even Old English romance films like Shakespeare in Love or Becoming Jane. I do not, however, ever find it interesting to sit and watch rich people bitch about their lives for ninety minutes or so. If I did, I would watch The Housewives show.
Chéri is the story of Fred Peloux dit, nicknamed Chéri and played by Rupert Friend. He is the son of a courtesan in 1920’s Paris and was practically raised in brothels. After sewing his wildest oats with all the prostitutes he can handle, he takes an interest in Lea de Lonval, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, an aging prostitute and friend of Fred’s mother, Madame Charlotte Peloux, played by Kathy Bates.
There were things I liked about this film. I enjoyed the scenery and locations at times and found the costumes to be very beautiful, but most of all, I liked Kathy Bates in her role of the fanatic Courtesan-turned-Mom who is very eager to marry off her son to someone rich and make her some grandchildren. She had a slow start in the film and about half way through, she lost her marbles and was giddy from her son being married. It was really funny at times, with the remarks she would make, or the childish grin she portrayed, she kept me entertained.
There were many things that I didn’t like about the film. One being Michelle Pfeiffer in her role. First, I didn’t like that they cast an American in an English role, she didn’t pull it off for me and second, I know she was supposed to be the 1920’s idea of The Cougar, but she just looked freaky at times. Yes, she is thin and in shape and has a great wig in the film, but she was grossly pale and mixing that with her watery blue eyes just made her look like a zombie.
I also thought the film itself was slow and too much like a book being read to us in a theater. Reading the original novel by Colette would probably have given me more satisfaction and detail. Besides Bates, everyone felt so scripted and devoid of emotion, especially when they are focused so hard on pronouncing their dinner correctly.
Fred was just strange. Rupert Friend portrayed him well in the fact that I didn’t like him. He just came off as an arrogant, spoiled, immature metrosexual. There was also a couple of side characters that provided some laughs, but overall I wouldn’t recommend this film.
On the other hand, my husband actually enjoyed this movie. He said it was a fun break from the massive summer blockbusters hitting us in the face and also described it as “Cute.” He loved the craziness of the story and the shocking ending. But most of all, he loved Kathy Bates, especially when she was showing off her adult-sized golden Red Riding Hood outfit to her son.
I have to give this film 1 “set of flamboyant pink pearl earrings for Fred” out 5.
Ryan gives it 3 “hot zombie women” out of 5.
by Angela Davis