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Stars: Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Friend, Felicity Jones, Iben Hjejle, Kathy Bates, Frances Tomelty, Harriet Walter, Toby Kebbell, Nichola McAuliffe, Anita Pallenberg, Joe Sheridan

Director: Stephen Frears

Exquisitely-dressed period piece featuring a comeback by Michelle Pfeiffer as a fortysomething Parisienne courtesan who finds herself paired off with the louche 19-year-old Cheri (Friend) and spends the next six years with him. Alas, at the end of that time, he's married off to the daughter (Felicity Jones) of another courtesan (Hjejle) and both parties soon realise what they have lost.

From a play by Colette, author of Gigi, the film looks divine, but proves borderline boring in the telling, lying there in the summer sunshine looking lovely and being rather overwhelmed by its sweeping background music. Indeed there are times when one almost expects the characters to burst into song.

Pfeiffer is very good as the courtesan - expressing emotion in her face rather than her words, but the film's mood is uncertain and its denizens largely unsympathetic, leaving you indifferent as to their destinies.

David Quinlan

UK/France/Germany 2009. UK Distributor: Pathe (Miramax). Colour by deluxe.
92 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 0.

Review date: 06 May 2009