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the eponymous Charlotte, she looks a million dollars (unsuitably so
for wartime), but she's also dour, tight-lipped and frequently on
the verge of tears.
Gray" seduces with chocolate-box cinematography and a sweeping
score, but that's all. As with the hyped film adaptation of "Captain
Corelli's Mandolin", the journey from page to screen hasn't
been smooth for Sebastian Faulks' bestseller.
plays a shy Scottish woman who enters the French Resistance to find
her missing beau, RAF pilot Peter Gregory (a miscast Penry-Jones).
Her priorities change, however, when she befriends a fellow Resistance
fighter Julien (Crudup), whilst lodging undercover - as 'Dominique'
- with his father Levade (Gambon), the gruff guardian of two Jewish
the covert lifestyle ironically brings Charlotte out of herself,
teaching her about compassion and friendship, she lacks the burning
passion that the story craves, and on which the success of the book
other wartime weepies such as "The English Patient", chances
of Oscar-winning success are sabotaged by a sleepwalking heroine,
and a dull script that fails to deliver knockout emotional punches.
Consequently, moments flagged as 'poignant' hit a false note - like
when Charlotte takes a letter to the orphans on a departing POW
excellent performances from Crudup and Gambon, the heroine's character-building
is so tediously serious we crave light relief which never materialises.
film will attract audiences intent on comparing it with the book,
but this 'woman-in-jeopardy' movie feels more like 'woman-in-apathy'.
Stunning imagery aside, this isn't the crowd-pleaser many had hoped
Gray" opens in the UK on Friday 22nd February 2002.
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