Stephen Frears’ adaptation of two combined Colette novels never takes hold due to a myopic screenplay by Christopher Hampton and a severely misjudged performance from Kathy Bates that threatens to sink the film whenever her distinctly non-British “Baroness” appears.
Set in the Belle Epoque era of the late 1800s, Michelle Pfeiffer plays Lea, an aging high-society courtesan whose romantic dabblings with a young stud named Cheri (Rupert Friend) lead to a certain ennui of requited lust for the aged Lea, whose life plan was not as thoroughly conceived as she imagined.
Pfeiffer momentarily teases the oh-so-droll drama from its dull-witted eroticism from time to time, but the overall effect is that of stale chocolate. Grade: C
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