Chéri. The most recent Pfilm. When I became a Pfan, this movie was already in progress, but I still had to wait a very long time before finally seeing it. I did have every other Pfilm yet to watch (because I was a fresh Pfan), but as it turned out, that didn’t take so long (well with watching at least 2 per day :p). So I waited and waited for Chéri. I followed the news on foot, watched all the trailers and movie clips on Youtube hundreds of times, saw the pictures of the première in Berlin and France. Pfans on the internet would tell me how great it was, which made me even more impatient. Finally I got so tired of waiting that I downloaded it (I would later see it in the cinema). So with months of eagerness to see it behind me, I put the DVD in my DVD-player, sat back and watched.
The opening scene made me smile, because I recognized the pictures they used for young Léa. I remember that the movie was fully downloaded at 1 in the morning. I obviously refused to wait until the next morning, so I just watched it while everyone was already asleep. That’s the way I like to watch Pfilms. Alone in my room with no one to disturb.
Ordinarily there’s an older guy with a younger girl. But this movie twists that cliché around. As we all know, an older woman with a younger man is much more frowned upon than when a 60 year old guy has a relationship with a twenty-something girl. But that’s the strength of this movie; uniqueness. It sheds a light on a new chapter of forbidden love. This movie is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.
The romance between Léa and Chéri happened very quickly. You didn’t get to see a lot of their relationship, and I regretted that. It wasn’t until later that I realized that it was shown implicit. It wasn’t about them acting in love, it was about their realization of how much they really loved each other.
In interviews Michelle makes it clear that she hates the term “cougar”. I agree. First of all it’s sexist; Men don’t get cross-eyed when they date someone half their age. Secondly, Léa is definitely not a cougar. She wasn’t out looking for a young man to love. In fact she wasn’t looking for a man at all. Chéri was, roughly said, just a project. Straight him out and then deliver him back. They just happened to fall in love.
Michelle’s character was really interesting. Whore or hooker aren’t words you use on Léa, even though that is in fact what she is. Prostitutes in those times were classy, elegant, almost divine. And Michelle is the perfect woman to portray these elements.
The thing that makes Léa interesting is the fact that you don’t understand her. How can you not want love? As it turns out, you can’t. Even the woman who is said never to fall in love, does.
I love how Michelle takes these interesting parts. Women that you can’t put your finger on. Like her character in ‘White oleander.’ Mysterious, unpredictable and untouchable.
Chéri starts off as a cliché kind of guy. Sleeps around, doesn’t care about anyone but himself, spoiled, but neglected only child.
And of course; Kathy Bates was pretty good as the loud, disgustingly sentimental(:p) mother.
The ending was great. I’ve always been a fan of unhappy endings, and this one was no exception. Michelle’s line ‘you found an old woman’ blew me away. The way she said it, so sincere and heartbreaking. And the final look in the mirror was a great last image. She realizes that her youth and beauty are fading, and that’s what cost her what was most precious to her.
This movie was not what I expected it to be. By the movie poster and the clips on Youtube, I concluded that it would be a light, romantic movie. But what I got was way better. It’s about
such a serious subject, but it managed to come together as a beautiful and elegant plot.
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