Critics Consensus

A too-short script and a romance lacking in heat detracts from an otherwise haughty charmer.



Reviews Counted: 136

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User Ratings: 13,303


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Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3/5

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Movie Info

It is turn of the century in Belle Epoque Paris and a scandalous romp is underfoot. The sensational tale begins as the ravishing Lea contemplates retirement from her renowned stature as Paris' most envied seductress to the rich and famous. Her plans are cut short when she is approached by a former courtesan and arch rival, the barb-throwing gossip Charlotte Peloux, who encourages Lea to teach her disaffected 19-year-old son -- a bon vivant nicknamed "Cheri" -- a thing or two about women. The resulting escapades involve power struggles over sex, money, age and society -- and, unexpectedly, love itself -- as a boy who refuses to grow up collides with a woman who realizes she cannot stay young forever.

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Michelle Pfeiffer
as Léa de Lonval
Rupert Friend
as Chéri, Fred Peloux
Kathy Bates
as Charlotte Peloux
Iben Hjejle
as Marie-Laure
Harriet Walter
as La Loupiote
Bette Bourne
as La Baronne
Tom Burke
as Le Vicomte Desmond
Nichola McAuliffe
as Madame Aidonza
András Hámori
as Silver-Haired Industrialist
Jack Walker
as Monsieur Roland
Natasha Cashman
as Madame Roland
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News & Interviews for Chéri

Critic Reviews for Chéri

All Critics (136) | Top Critics (40)

Sadly the few good elements of Cheri only serve to highlight the films considerable inadequacies, and the only bedroom-based action it will inspire is a comforting nap, possibly before the end of the film.

Jul 27, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Stretching out like a cat on the wide screen, Michelle Pfeiffer shows off her durable glamour in the star role of Lea de Lonval, a high-class courtesan in pre-World War I France.

Jul 24, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

A movie like Cheri needs the time and space of The Age of Innocence. Instead, it's rushed along in an hour and 40 minutes.

Jul 3, 2009 | Rating: 2.5/4

It's the kind of refined, delicate acting Pfeiffer does so well, and it's a further reminder of how much we've missed her since she's been away.

Jul 1, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

These two lovebirds are playfully mismatched, and that's just why they fall for each other.

Jun 30, 2009 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Cheri is a serviceable period piece, but not much more.

Jun 30, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Chéri

Although not really involving nor exactly compelling, this romantic drama based on Colette is at least charming, with a wonderful production design and a nice chemistry between Pfeiffer and Friend.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


During la belle epoque, an old courtesan and a young man fall in love, but when the man must marry, their relationship reaches an impasse. Playwright/screenwriter Christopher Hampton collaborated with director Stephen Frears in 1988 to produce one of the most vicious battles of the genders ever put to film, Dangerous Liaisons, and their most recent collaboration seems like the aborted product of their imitators or merely the vain scribblings of old men who can no longer hack it. In every way Cheri is a Frears/Hampton film, but in every way it falls short. In what few moments of manipulation there are, we see none of the mischievousness and guile that made Valmont a man we love to hate. In what few moments of sexual passion, we none of the allure of the young Uma Thurman (all of the actresses in Cheri must have had a no nudity clause). And in what few moments of loving tenderness in Cheri, there is none of the passion we saw in Tourvel and Valmont's torrid break-up and reunion. What remains is a sterile imitation of Dangerous Liaisons. And Cheri's motivations are occasionally mysterious. Even after he explains his reunion with Edmee, it still doesn't make any sense. I must say that this is a courageous role for Michelle Pfeiffer as much of Lea's character development takes place in the sad lines on her aging face. But this was but one ugly moment in a whole film in which she is made to look as beautiful as she can. Also, the script reduces the eminently talented Kathy Bates to a mere cartoon. Overall, see Dangerous Liaisons, and when you're done, you can say that you saw Cheri too.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Indulge in a wicked game of seduction A romantic story of a young boy who is attracted by a prostitute older than him So the movie inst so bad, i thought it could have been worst, way worst, its an elegant movie, that is visually pleasing, nothing out of the ordinary. In terms of costume this movie is fabulous, amazing stylish outfits that should inspire a lot of people out there. In terms of the story, there isn't anything special, its a semi-erotic build up plot. But one thing has to be named, Pfeiffer is amazing! So is you want to go see it, its up to you. I don't recommend it to everyone, but if you like historical romances with a spice of sensuality , go ahead. Lea de Lonval : I can't criticize his character, mainly because he doesn't seem to have one!

Pedro  Holanda
Pedro Holanda

Super Reviewer


In Cheri we have Michelle Pfeiffer giving a wonderful performance as an ageing courtisan in turn of the 20th century France (the Belle Epoque period). Unfortunately, the script and her co-lead Friend are very uneven, leaving Pfieffer and Kathy Bates on an island; a very pretty island, but an island nonetheless. The emotional impact of the story falls a bit flat, in spite of a wonderful narration by the director Frears, who provides a straight forward direction, trying to wring some sense of drama to a script that frankly has very little. A fine example of not cashing in on the emotional currency of "star crossed love" is the film'ending, where a voiceover states that Friend goes off to fight in the "war to end all wars", survives and then, faced with a life without his soul mate, puts a gun to his head. Far better, I believe, would have been a scene where he puts his army uniform aside, gazes at a picture of Pfieffer, and then puts the gun to his head... fade to black. Still, for all its failings, the film, as carried by Pfieffer, along with the wonderful scenery, sets and costumes, delivers a reasonable bit of entertainment.

paul sandberg
paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

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