Stephen Frears's adaptation of two combined Colette novels, never takes hold due to a myopic screenplay by Christopher Hampton, and from 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 (played by 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.
Rated R. 92 mins. (C) (Two Stars)
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