Promotional film poster
|Directed by||Stephen Frears|
|Produced by||Bill Kenwright
|Written by||Christopher Hampton|
|Based on||Chéri by Colette|
|Narrated by||Stephen Frears|
|Music by||Alexandre Desplat|
|Editing by||Lucia Zucchetti|
|Studio||UK Film Council|
|Distributed by||Miramax Films (USA)
|Running time||92 minutes|
Chéri is a 2009 drama film directed by Stephen Frears. Starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Rupert Friend, it is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by French author Colette. The film premiered at the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival.
Although Léa only plans on keeping Chéri around for a short while, their affair turns into a six-year ordeal, in which Léa has begun paying for Chéri's expenses, and Chéri wears Léa's silk pajamas and pearls. The two believe their affair to be casual, and Léa learns Chéri's mother, Charlotte, has arranged for Chéri to marry the daughter of another courtesan, a barely eighteen-year-old named Edmée. Although Chéri does not wish to marry Edmée, it is made clear that he has no choice in the matter. Léa kicks him out of her home, but makes Chéri promise to always be gentle and kind with Edmée, and to try and give her a good life. After Chéri agrees, the two part ways, and do not share glances at Chéri's wedding. It is only after Chéri is on the train to Italy for his honeymoon that both he and Léa realise they are in love with each other. Chéri rapes Edmée and, while taking her virginity, realises that while sex with Edmée is strained and painful, sex with Léa was easy and fun. Léa visits Charlotte one last time before running off on vacation, making up a story in which she is involved in with another suitor, when in fact the only man Léa beds while on vacation is a young bodybuilder whom she has no feelings for and regards as a one-night-stand.
Meanwhile, Edmée accuses Chéri of not caring about her, and says all he ever does is think of Léa. While out on the town with a friend, Chéri tries opium and cocaine, and on his way back he notices that Léa's apartment is no longer empty, and she has returned home. Feeling refreshed, Chéri runs home to Edmée where he makes love to her properly and kindly. He sends Charlotte the next day to inspect Léa's home, whereupon Léa says she is madly in love with her new "suitor", and learns (falsely) from Charlotte that Chéri and Edmée are crazily in love and happier than ever. That night, after hearing from Charlotte that Léa is in love with her suitor, Chéri breaks into her home and admits he loves her. The two spend one more night together and plan on running away. In the morning, however, Léa apologises to Chéri for "ruining him" and making life too easy on him when they first begun their affair. Léa tells Chéri to go back to Edmée, for their age difference would always prevent a true relationship blossoming between them. Tentatively, Chéri leaves. Léa stares into her mirror at her ageing face, and the narrator reveals she is angry for being born two decades before Chéri. The narrator also reveals that, after a while, Chéri realises that Léa was the only woman he could ever love, and he commits suicide.
- Michelle Pfeiffer as Léa de Lonval
- Rupert Friend as Fred 'Chéri' Peloux
- Kathy Bates as Madame Charlotte Peloux
- Felicity Jones as Edmée
- Frances Tomelty as Rose
- Anita Pallenberg as La Copine
- Harriet Walter as La Loupiote
- Iben Hjejle as Marie Laure
The movie got mixed reviews: The Times of London reviewed the film favourably, describing Hampton's screenplay as a "steady flow of dry quips and acerbic one-liners" and Pfeiffer's performance as "magnetic and subtle, her worldly nonchalance a mask for vulnerability and heartache."
Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times praised the "wordless scenes that catch Léa unawares, with the camera alone seeing the despair and regret that she hides from the world. It's the kind of refined, delicate acting Pfeiffer does so well, and it's a further reminder of how much we've missed her since she's been away."
- "Cheri at Box Office Mojo".
- Ed Meza (15 January 2009). "Berlin festival adds to main section". Variety. Retrieved 20 February 2009.
- "Chéri (2009) – Awards". imdb.com.
- Dalton, Stephen (11 February 2009). "Chéri review". Times. Retrieved 1 March 2009.
- Ebert, Roger (24 June 2009). "Chéri review". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 6 August 2009.
- Turan, Kenneth (26 June 2009). "Chéri review". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 6 August 2009.[dead link]
- "Chéri Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 14 September 2010.
- "Chéri Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. 10 December 2008. Retrieved 14 September 2010.