Posted by Posted by Karmander On 8:08 AM

It's a small picture by Stephen Frears, one of my favorite directors of all time, up there with Billy Wilder and Hitchcock.
Based on a story by Colette, most famous for penning "Gigi", and set in 1920's France, it is about a beautiful, aging Courtesan named Lea, and her young lover, Cherie. Cherie is the son of another, retired Courtesan and is familiar with her "lifestyle". After 6 years with the boy, Cherie's mother decides she wants him to get married and bear her grandchildren. Lea, a proud professional, cannot admit to Cherie that she has fallen in love with him, and Cherie is too immature to recognize the telltale signs. Once seperated, the two lose their minds with loneliness, even though Cherie has a young wife, and Lea takes on a new, young lover in the south of France.

The story was delightfully poignant and sad, but the movie as a whole was just gooooooorgeous. The costumes were to die for, the sets were...oh, the sets were painfully beautiful. Lush and extravagant...exactly how one pictures 1920's France amongst the elite. There was a party of eccentrics hosted by Cherie's mother. That was probably my favorite scene. A 60+ courtesan with her 15 year old boy lover (I know, SO twisted, I LOVED it), a transvestite that nobody bothered to say a thing about...she was just one of the girls, and a much older courtesan who looked to have walked straight off the set of some ancient silent film. Every detail was perfect, stylish, and purposeful. These women never technically worked a day in their lives and lived a lifestyle of sheer luxury because of some looser than most morals. You gotta wonder, who's the foolish ones?
The acting was glorious. Pfeiffer was a strange mix of strength and vulnerability...steel magnolia comes to mind. Kathy Bates was jolly and seemed nearly immune to heartbreak, though Cherie did his best to bring her down. Cherie was interesting; a boy nobody could love except Lea. He was a little mean, cold, sardonic and snobby...but charming and submissive to Lea. If it's your type of thing, I highly recommend it. The film is like a piece of jewelry...small, shimmering, and should be cherished as such.