Courtesan sounds so much nicer and more civilised than some of the other words you might use. Chéri is a film about an ‘old’ courtesan – as old as you can look when you’re Michelle Pfeiffer – who falls in love with her courtesan friend’s 19-year-old son, Chéri. It’s based on the novel by Colette, so my guess would be that the story is quite interesting. Shame the film is so shallow.
It’s beautiful enough, nicely filmed with wonderful Art Noveau all over the place, and beautiful people. But just because Michelle Pfeiffer sighs beautifully over the childish and spoilt Rupert Friend, doesn’t mean this is a film with much meaning. Kathy Bates as the mother of Chéri is fun and awful at the same time, and if they could have found other actors for the two main characters, it might have worked better.
Chéri is on at Cornerhouse from today, and if you like Michelle Pfeiffer, you’ll probably like it. I noticed it was her 51st birthday the day I saw the film, sitting in the dark wondering how old she could be. Rupert Friend looks perfect for the new wave of really beautiful young men on the big screen.