Reviewed by: Eric Hernandez
|Featuring||Rupert Friend, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathy Bates, Felicity Jones, Frances Tomelty, Anita Pallenberg, Harriet Walter, Iben Hjejle, Bette Bourne, Gaye Brown, Tom Burke, Natasha Cashman, Andras Hamori, Toby Kebbell, Nichola McAuliffe, Joe Sheridan, Hubert Tellegen, Jack Walker, Rollo Weeks, Stephen Frears|
|Director||Stephen Frears—“Sammy and Rosie Get Laid,” “High Fidelity,” “Victoria and Abdul,” “The Queen,” “Dangerous Liaisons”|
|Producer||Miramax Films, Pathé, UK Film Council, Aramid Entertainment Fund, MMC Independent, Filmstiftung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Deutsche Filmförderfonds (DFFF), Tiggy Films, Bill Kenwright Films, Reliant Pictures, Firstep Productions, Raphaël Benoliel, Raphaël Benoliel, Simon Fawcett, Marco Gilles, Bastian Griese, Andras Hamori, Christopher Hampton, François Ivernel, Bill Kenwright, Jessica Lange, Daniel Mann, Cameron McCracken, Thom Mount, Ralf Schmitz, Tracey Seaward, Richard Temple|
“In a game of seduction, never fall in love.”
Going into “Chéri”, I knew next to nothing about the movie, only that it was a period piece starring Michelle Pfeiffer and that its director Stephen Frears had made the excellent 2006 movie “The Queen,” which I highly recommend. Being such a fan of that movie, I was shocked by the immorality of the content present in “Chéri,” so much so that I would have walked out of the theater had I not been assigned this movie to review. Perhaps this was ignorance on my part, but I was hoping that a costume drama set in the 1920s would be fairly clean. I was wrong.
The film takes place in 1920s Paris, where a middle-aged woman named Lea de Lonval (Michelle Pfeiffer) is considering retiring from her job as a courtesan. However, another courtesan, her enemy-turned-friend Madame Peloux (Kathy Bates) approaches her one day, encouraging Lea to educate her free-spirited, 19 year-old son Cheri (Rupert Friend) about the ways of women. The two end up falling in love, and begin a scandalous affair.
Had I seen that plot summary, I would not have gone to see “Chéri” without further researching whether or not the subject was dealt with in an appropriate manner. I can assure you, it was not. There are multiple sex scenes between Lea and Cheri, complete with graphic movement and action. Male and female nudity was also present throughout. The fact that Lea is 50 and Cheri is still a teenager adds another level of immorality to the story. The MPA rating description of “some sexual content” is very misleading.
There is also a graphic scene of characters snorting cocaine, and the use of drugs is discussed throughout the movie. There is no violence to be found in “Chéri,” and one solitary exclamation of “God.”
The Bible speaks of sex as a wonderful thing, devoting an entire book to praising it (Song of Solomon). Sex is only wonderful, though, when it happens between a married man and woman. Proverbs 5:18–20 says,
“Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth. As a loving hind and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love. For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress and embrace the bosom of a foreigner?”
Beautiful photography and costumes sadly are wasted in a movie brimming with inappropriate content. I went in expecting a good old-fashioned period piece, and instead was met with a trashy and immoral story that happened to be set in the olden days. I can in no way recommend “Chéri” for viewing.
Violence: Minor / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Extreme
Should I save sex for marriage? Answer
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.