Australasian Cinema > films >

Charlotte Gray

Charlotte Gray (Gillian Armstrong, 2001) wr. Jeremy Brock from novel by Sebastian Faulks, dp Dion Beebe; Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Michael Gambon, Rupert Penry-Jones; Cate Blanchett as a British agent in occupied France

Metaphorically: Mills & Boon. What is wrong with this film is exactly what's wrong with In a Savage Land: the bullshit ending.

The mundane side of the spy game is on display in Charlotte Gray, a bland and dour screen version of Sebastian Faulks' highly engrossing bestseller. ... Practically everything that happens to Charlotte is dispiriting and sad; character-building, yes, but in the most undesirable sort of way. Yes, Charlotte does become "stronger," wise in the ways of the world, even heroic, but she also seems drained, beaten down, hollowed out. And Blanchett, normally a brilliant chameleon whose quicksilver talents seem to equip her to play any sort of role, appears all but frozen here, strangely ill at ease and unable to open a window onto Charlotte's feelings. ... most notable other change made by Brock and Armstrong lies in the ending. Without giving it away, one could argue the film's finish proceeds from Charlotte's growth in the course of her difficult journey; in the playing, however, the tacked-on post-war fade-out comes off as pure Hollywood. Todd McCarthy, Variety.

Garry Gillard | New: 5 December, 2012 | Now: 26 January, 2020