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Movie Review: Charlotte Gray

Story: Charlotte Gray is a strong willed Scottish woman who joins the British Secret Service sometime during W.W.II. The main reason she joins is to try to get to France to find her lover, an RAF pilot whose plane was downed somewhere in France. Along the way she finds her real self through causes much larger than herself. The good news is this is an old fashioned war inspired melodrama with luscious scenery (let's face it - it is France), accurate sets and costumes. Australian director Gillian Anderson (My Brilliant Career) uses a beautiful female touch throughout the film that works very well. Her source material is the novel by Sebastian Faulk. The bad news is the story has huge holes, questionable time sequences, bad accents and the chemistry between the lovers is flat. Yet with all of that, I liked it anyway. Often the good stuff outweighs the bad stuff. If you like those old W.W.II films shown on AMC you will like this film.

Acting: Kate Blanchett is one of the best actors of the day. She shines in this film and can do almost any role she chooses. I even liked her in the awful film, The Gift. Billy Crudup, who I like very much is also good. I just didn't like these two as a team. Michael Gambon is also always good and can be seen as the murder victim, in Gosford Park.

Critters: Farm animals.

Food: Meager. Mostly soup. It was war time.

Visual Art: The French countryside is always a reminiscent of a landscape painting to me.

Blatant Product Placement: Swastikas.

Soundtrack: I don't remember.

Opening Titles: A beautiful sequence filmed from a moving train.

Theater Audience: Crowded with all ages.

Sappy Factor: 0 - there is nothing sappy about war.

Squirm Scale: Nazis and collaborators always make me squirm.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: One.

Oscar Worthy: No.

Nit Picking: The accents really bothered me. She is supposed to be fluent in French but everyone speaks English (except the Germans, of course) in varying degrees of English accents. And I am not sure what kind of accent Crudup was supposed to have had. The time frame also bothered me. I wasn't sure how long the events were in 'real' time. I certainly know when WW II was, but it was still confusing.

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine. How about renting a bunch of Billy Crudup's good films such as: Without Limits, Almost Famous, or Jesus' Son.

Length: Two hours