Cheri marks the cinematic return of my favourite Catwoman, Michelle Pfeiffer, as the courtesan Lea de Lonval in turn of the century France.
Before I get into the proper film review, I just want to say one thing. Pfeiffer looks amazing for 50. She’s always been beautiful, of course, but with age her face has moulded around her cathedral-high cheekbones and her smile is still sparkling – I just couldn’t keep my eyes off her. Her elegant slim figure even inspired a brief moment of madness where I thought I should try wearing some Belle Epoque inspired fashion on the streets of Melbourne, with its defined waists, draped hips, narrow silhouettes and gloriously ornate headgear.
Anyway, back to the movie. This pastel-coloured period film is based on two books by Colette about Lea, who’s reached ‘a certain age’ and is thinking of retiring. Lea begins a six-year relationship with her friend’s nineteen year old son, Cheri (a pouting and louchely handsome Rupert Friend) which all ends badly (as you’d expect). At first their different ages and life experiences make them an unlikely match, but later in life they realise, too late, that in fact they were a perfect match.
I’ve never read the books so I can’t comment on whether the film adaptation works or not, but in essence it’s a light film which explores issues of ageing, beauty, societal expectations and love. To be honest though I enjoyed the film mostly because it was a glamorous frock-fest. Beautiful people, beautiful clothes, beautiful surroundings.