Friday, April 16, 2010

Movie Review - Cheri & Why Netflix is awesome

Is it ok if I review a movie that's a little bit old? I'm going to decide right now that it is, this opens up the floor for me to talk about Classic films and semi-new films (at least for me) that I find to be worth talking about.

As I have mentioned several times already, Nick is away on a business trip this week. Generally when he's gone I try really hard to squeeze in as many friend hangouts as possible (before you go around thinking I only hang out with my friends when my husband is not around, I usually I make it a rule to hang out with at least one person a week--gotta keep sane somehow!) and cue up some things on my Netflix that I think Nick won't enjoy that much. Usually these consist of really lame movies I'm curious about, romantic comedies, and period films (especially BBC miniseries). All the genres most commonly known to the female persuasion.

Before I start my review, though, let me gush about Netflix for a moment.

For those of you who haven't jumped on the bandwagon (and I'll understand if you're supporting a local vendor) why haven't you? It is so incredibly convenient, fast (they get to and from the local warehouse within 2-3 days) and far cheaper than Movies on Demand/Payperview, Blockbuster, etc. For $8.95 a month we get unlimited internet downloads to our computer (and if you're willing to pay $100, you can get an electronic device that will let you stream then straight to your TV) and unlimited DVDs to our house (as long as only one is in your possession at a time). If you watch one movie a week and there's 4 weeks that month, it works out to under $3 a movie. I'd say this is the ideal package for a couple with no kids. Sometimes you are too busy to watch, so having one DVD around is a challenge, but if you have a regular movie night tradition on Friday nights then you've got your movie all lined up. If you have kids or you watch a movie every day, you can pay a little bit extra to have up to 4 DVDs floating around your home. Well worth it in my opinion.

Starring - Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Friend, Kathy Bates

Cheri came out about a year ago, and it was one of those movies that I actually really wanted to see in the movie theaters. But since it came out around my birthday and Easter things, as usual, were too hectic and we never made it out to see it. It was promptly added to the Netflix DVD cue once it was released on DVD and since I didn't think Nick would enjoy it, I saved it for a time when he was away (he travels every few weeks or so for his job).

I'm still undecided as to whether or not I think he would have liked the movie. Nick is somewhat of a softie. He's one of those rare guys who is actually in touch with his emotions, so he's not afraid to say things like "I cried during the Notebook" (although if you ask him now he'll deny it) or like an occasional Romantic Comedy. We watched Confessions of a Shopaholic together (the perfect Christmas gift for me this past year) and he laughed the entire time because he genuinely thought it was funny. So I know a movie like Cheri would have gotten to him on some level. The ending is not typical Hollywood, and no doubt he would have felt moved enough to well, put the moves on me in an effort to express his undying love for me. But the storyline was a little bit weak and I found myself working on last night's blog entry through the first 30 minutes or so of the movie.

We start off in turn of the Century Paris. A courtesan (which is basically an extremely high priced prostitute) is getting ready to retire when she is pulled back in the business to set her frenemy's son on the path to healthy living and skilled love making. She was the best courtesan of her day because she never fell in love, but this young boy bedazzles her and steals her heart (right away you have to wonder what this boy in pale makeup has that other strapping men didn't). Things become complicated when he has to get married and neither one can let go.

The love affair between Cheri (Rupert Friend) and Lea (Michelle Pfeiffer) seems a little far fetched. I believe it more when they are not in the same scene pining away for each other. Before that, even during their most intimate moments when Lea can be honest, and not play the mind games she feels she must play as part of her profession, seem a little forced. Maybe it's because of the age difference? Or maybe it's because how the two characters met and their previous relationship make it a little weird (imagine having an affair with your Godparent). But once the couple was apart I actually started to care about their well being (Lea more so than Cheri) and wanted things to work out for the best. They weren't played poorly, I think I just had a hard time believing it (although the horrible fake British accents Michelle Pfeiffer and Kathy Bates had might have added to that as well).

Storyline aside, the scenery is gorgeous as are the costumes. Movies always score major points with me if there is breathtaking set design and cinematography. The world of Cheri was bright and opulent, much like the main characters within the film. The scenes in the gardens or by the seaside evoke the accessory heavy and detailed Victorian lifestyle (and gave me decorating ideas) and the bedrooms have an airy romantic feel to them.

Overall, I did like the movie. It was visually stunning, and the storyline got me in the end. But the start was slow, and because of its sad ending all it did was make me even more lonely for my husband. But on the bright side, if your husband is a softie like mine, you'll probably get laid in the name of undying true love. So extra bonus points for that one.

3.5/5 Stars

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