Cheri is a film that feels about a decade late in terms of significance. If this was 1999 it would fit in, as the 1990s were a much more fertile ground for the period piece. Now, it’s much more of a pretentious film featuring people in period costumes.
Following the tale of the title character (Rupert Friend) and his older lover and professional courtesan (Michelle Pfeiffer), the film follows them as they connect and reconnect over the years. What makes it interesting are the ages of the two. Cheri is just a teenager when they meet, the son of one of her compatriots, and she a much older woman and professional lover. Like moths drawn to a flame, the two find ways to reconnect and yet split apart because they both carry fantasy images of one another. Their final parting, as this is a tragic romance, is poignant and tough because we see this from their very first encounter.
And it’s also because Friend and Pfeiffer have amazing chemistry with one another. Friend is comfortable and qualified in this element, already having been in Pride & Prejudice and The Libertine. His acting chops are solid and it doesn’t hurt that he has a true professional in Pfeiffer alongside him. Pfeiffer has always been a giving actress but here she brings out a good performance as the two are confident enough to give a subdued chemistry. In any other film it would be much more flamboyant but in keeping with the times it’s toned down.
It is a beautiful film, though, as it captures the period wonderfully. With all sorts of great costume work, as well as scenery, the film certainly looks beautiful. It’s an engrossing piece but doesn’t have any real heart to it. Cheri just doesn’t have the zing it ought to because it’s a throwback to an era that has since passed.
Presented in a Dolby Digital format with a widescreen presentation, Cheri has a spectacular transfer. This is a period piece with a lot of color and scenery, as well as a great score, and it comes through wonderfully.
The Making of Cheri is a brief feature on the making of the film. Nothing of note is said.
Two Deleted Scenes are included and were cut for good reason.
With a pittance of extras, this is a film that is recommended for fans of either of the two main leads or of period pieces. Other then that, recommendation to avoid.
Miramax presents Cheri. Directed by Stephen Frears. Starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Friend, Kathy Bates, Felicity Jones, Frances Tomelty, Anita Pallenberg, Harriet Walter, Iben Hjejle. Written by Christopher Hampton based on the novel by Colette. Running time: 90 minutes. Rated R. Released on October 20, 2009. Available at Amazon.
Tags: Michelle Pfeiffer