As a cougar chasing a teen twink: That's a crass précis for the elegant, witty pleasures that Pfeiffer, director Stephen Frears and writer Christopher Hampton — who last collaborated on 1988's Dangerous Liaisons — carve out of this tale by the French novelist Colette. Set in Paris in the early 1900s, the film begins as retired courtesan Léa (Pfeiffer) enters into a six-year affair with Cheri (the excellent Rupert Friend), 19, the son of her colleague Charlotte (a wickedly frisky Kathy Bates). Léa and Cheri will pretend there is no such thing as love, and ultimately be scarred by it. With Pfeiffer, 50, radiating uncommon beauty, grace and feeling, Frears uncovers a fragile story's grieving heart.
From The Archives Issue 352: September 17, 1981