Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time!
Empire's Guardians Of The Galaxy Cover
Does Star Wars Have A Brain Trust?
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
Subscribe: 6 Issues For £15!
Subscribe today and save 37% off the cover price!
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Cate Blanchett
Billy Crudup
Rupert Penry-Jones
Ron Cook.
Directors
Gillian Armstrong.
Screenwriters
Jeremy Brock.
Running Time
121 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
A Night At The Cinema In 1914
4 Star Empire Rating
Hide Your Smiling Faces
4 Star Empire Rating
A Promise
1 Star Empire Rating
Nut Job, The
2 Star Empire Rating
Mr. Morgan's Last Love
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating
Rebel Without A Cause
5 Star Empire Rating

Charlotte Gray
Adaptation of Sebastian Faulks' wartime love story


submit to reddit


Plot
1943. Charlotte (Blanchett) is recruited by the Special Operations Executive and, after her pilot lover, Peter, is shot down, volunteers to go into France as an undercover agent. Her own agenda is to find Peter, but involvement with the local Resistance draws her into danger.


Review
As was the case with Captain Corelli's Mandolin, this is a reverent, scenic and problematic adaptation of a bestselling novel (this time by Sebastian Faulks) and a love story amid wartime action and suspense.

The role of Charlotte is exceptional because she gets to combine intelligence with derring-do and moral righteousness. She also has to convey the psychological tension of sustaining a masquerade, as Charlotte 'becomes' Dominique Gilbert, complete with dyed hair, foreign underwear and behavioural tics. Director Armstrong has always done her best work illuminating women who want more from their lives, but this bites off more than a gal can chew. The book's emphasis is on Charlotte's internal journey; on film, she is less self-contained and busier with collaborators and Nazis.

Ultimately this exposes how largely ineffectual her war efforts have been while she's been exploring her identity and heart. Fans of the book will regret that the script misses a few tricks; those who haven't read it may be left baffled by an abrupt denouement. The film has appealing chemistry between Blanchett and Crudup, as well as strong moments - the Resistance cell walking into a trap, Dominique's rendezvous with her disaffected Brummie contact, Mirabel - but it can't escape a melodramatic phoniness.

It wants to be moving and inspiring, but doesn't deliver the emotional punch of those no-frills, black and white, post-War films about underground heroines Violette Szabo and Odette Churchill. Or, indeed, of Faulks' recent documentary series about the S.O.E. blunders and betrayals that doomed over half its courageous agents to lonely deaths.


Verdict
Blanchett is as good as ever, making Charlotte involving and more sympathetic than on paper, but the film overreaches, beyond the individual and personal, to larger themes that elude its grasp.


Reviewed by Angie Errigo

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
'I Have The Club But I Didn't Get The Lion's Head'
Dwayne Johnson (and pals) talks Hercules props, action and ancient superheroes

Classic Feature: The Making Of The Silence Of The Lambs
Is this the most frightening movie ever made?

Classic Feature: Jack Nicholson - Gods Among Us
Charisma, consistency and cunning summed up in a single word: Jack.

Director Matt Reeves Spills Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes Secrets
What we learned from our Empire podcast spoiler special

Peter Fonda On Peter Fonda
The Hollywood legend relives his career highlights

Kevin Feige Talks Ant-Man, Guardians Of The Galaxy And Doctor Strange
The Marvel boss updates us on the state of his cinematic universe

Video: Gary Oldman And Keri Russell Talk Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
Would you watch Carry On Up The Planet Of The Apes?

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time Subscribers' Cover

Subscribe today and get the cover and 3 issues for only £10!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)