If you're expecting a movie about Louise Brooks and the 1920's, forget it.
This movie is mostly about the chaperone. Despite it being set almost 100 years ago, her issues are all very mid-21st century -- gayness, immigrants, feminism, an adoptee identity crisis, and getting laid. And while ordinarily, I love Elizabeth McGovern, she's a little over the top here -- she's working so hard to show every momentary emotion on her face that she's almost twitchy.
Haley Lu Richardson is good as Louise Brooks, but the part is off the shelf -- the snarky, ambitious hot girl. Blythe Danner is also good in a small part.
The costumes are beautiful, but strangely one-note -- there are an awful lot of white or cream dresses paired with brown flowered hats.
In this handsome period piece perfectly suited for cinephiles of all stripes, director Michael Engler (Downton Abbey, 30 Rock, Six Feet Under) and screenwriter Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey, Gosford Park) bring a fascinating slice of pre-Hollywood history to light in a coming-of-age story centering on the relationship between the young, free-spirited and soon-to-be international screen starlet Louise Brooks (a riveting, high-intensity Haley Lu Richardson) and her tee-totalling chaperone (a wonderfully nuanced Elizabeth McGovern). On their journey from the conservative confines of Wichita Kansas to the flash and sizzle of New York City, both women are driven by a kindred desire for self-discovery and liberation from the past. Based on the book by Laura Moriarty and anchored by a superb supporting cast (Miranda Otto, Géza Röhrig, and Blythe Danner in a key cameo), The Chaperone is a sensitive, resonant, and illuminating tale of women's lives in the early 20th century.
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August 12, 2019 at 07:59 AM