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Running Time:
1 hour, 40 minutes

Rating: R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.

Rating Explanation:
for some sexual content and brief drug use.

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
This is a smart and lushly romantic film adaptation of a Colette novel about sex, money and power

Additional Info:
DVD Features: Deleted scenes; The making of Cheri

Michelle Pfeiffer as Lea
Rupert Friend as Cheri
Kathy Bates as Charlotte Peloux
Felicity Jones as Edmee
Iben Hjejle as Marie-Laure
Nichola McAuliffe as Mme. Aldonza
Anita Pallenberg as La Copine
Frances Tomelty as Rose
Harriet Walter as La Loupiote
Stephen Frears - Narrator

In this this adaptation of a Colette novel set in Paris in the years before World War I, courtesans found themselves elevated to near-royalty status, flush with cash from various affairs and living in grand style. For Lea de Lonval (Michelle Pfeiffer "Married to the Mob"), time is catching up to her legacy and when her close friend Madame Peloux (Kathy Bates "Misery") requests Lea to help open up her 19-year-old son Cheri (Rupert Friend "Pride & Prejudice") to worldly desires, the aging predator begins a sexual relationship with him that lasts for six years. Forced into an arranged marriage, Cheri leaves Lea for a younger wife Edmee (Felicity Jones "Brideshead Revisited") and new life, abandoning the middle-aged lady to reflect on her loneliness. As the year passes, Cheri finds the marriage excruciating, with his every thought consumed by his former lover. Lea is equally desolate, hoping that Cheri will come to his senses and return to her arms.

Screenwriter Christopher Hampton ("Dangerous Liaisons") tarts up the book into a more contemporary drama of passion that sweeps away our main characters, deliciously delving into the debauchery and passivity of the era and locale, while director Stephen Frears ("The Queen") bathes the film in a booze-soaked haze of opulence and intolerance, while gently developing Lea’s battle with age and reality.

Michelle Pfeiffer is a marvel with her subtle expressions of voluptuary vanity and self-destruction as Lea, who can’t seem to get Cheri out of her system, no matter how hard she tries. It’s a majestic performance, but Rupert Friend as Cheri seems to be overwhelmed in what may be a thankless role as the shattered manchild, especially appearing opposite the radiant Pfeiffer. 

As the seesaw moves from the foamy, snappy comedy of Lea and Cheri’s courtship to the cruel darkness of their separation, Frears adjusts the tone superbly. He’s also preserved the dramatic conclusion as well, leaving the opulent world of “Cheri” to implode right before our eyes, in this smart and lushly romantic period drama.

                                        Cheri with Michelle Pfeiffer: DVD Cover

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