Chéri DVD review

A little more than 20 years ago, Dangerous Liaisons set a near-camp standard for sparring aristos who draw blood yet still fall prey to true love

2/5
(PG18) US Michelle Pfeiffer

A little more than 20 years ago, Dangerous Liaisons set a near-camp standard for sparring aristos who draw blood yet still fall prey to true love. Pairing up the same director-screenwriter team (Frears and Christopher Hampton), Chéri takes a lighter, less grand tack on costumed ardour. The source material is a less obviously sinister affair, a 1920 novel by Colette that explores the love between Michelle Pfeiffer’s ageing courtesan and the young rake (Rupert Friend) she acclimates to social customs, before he’s forced to marry someone else.

The problem is that no one holds our attention as much as Pfeiffer, who’s offscreen for what feels like enormously long stretches – a by-product of the adaptation pains detectable in Hampton’s streamlining of several novels by Colette. The DVD extras are the usual suspects; a collection of backstage frippery and boring interviews.

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