Charlotte Gray Movie Review

Ever go to a movie solely for the stars? It may not be anything particularly inventive, but watching some of your favorites onscreen can be worth the price of admission. Charlotte Gray, unfortunately following in the plotline footsteps of this year's Divided We Fall, holds this kind of talent appeal through stars Cate Blanchett and Billy Crudup.

Charlotte Gray (Blanchett), a Londoner, joins the French Resistance after her pilot boyfriend gets shot down over France. When a fellow female spy is caught on her first drop-off assignment, Charlotte stays with local rebellion leader Julien (Crudup) and takes care of two Jewish boys whose parents have been captured. Meanwhile, she continues to meet with her contact to find ambush points for Julien.

Based on a novel, the characters are well-structured in a narrative that has tends toward predictability. Blanchett combines strength with touching vulnerability as she adapts to an increasingly claustrophobic atmosphere, one which she is free to leave at any time. Crudup is more than just an average rebel, a natural leader who balances intelligent productivity with recognition through shy words.

The upshot is the parallel growth between Charlotte's appreciation of France's predicament while Julien learns which battles are worth fighting. This pattern is pleasantly supported by Julien's father, Levarde (Michael Gambon), a tough recluse with a heart of gold. And though there is plenty of room for nauseating melodramatic interaction, as often seen in war movies like this, the script thankfully doesn't fall into this abyss.

Disappointment does come in the form of plot contrivances, such as when the local schoolteacher threatens the lives of the hidden Jews unless he is granted sex with Charlotte. Then, of course, there's the expected budding romance between Julien and Charlotte. What saves the movie from becoming a snoozefest is the impeccable acting juxtaposed with not everything leading to a happily-ever-after conclusion. There are some that will be rescued from Nazi clutches and some that won't, and this realism is respected.

Charlotte is thankfully a remarkable three-dimensional hero. She makes mistakes and doesn't always hold herself together in times of stress. It is indeed a pleasant surprise to see a female character that is strong in degrees, that is human instead of perfect. And it's a joy to watch her from one scene to the next, even if you know what that scene will be, because the reaction you're expecting often doesn't happen.

The other thematic attraction to Charlotte is that it's a woman's journey not constrained by whatever male is at her side. Her interaction with Julien is important, but she is the core of the film instead of simply being a helpful advisor to a powerful man. And where she has an effect on those in her environment, not everything she's involved with turns out the way she planned, a credit to the script.

Overall, Charlotte Gray impresses with fine acting and a realistic approach to the past, even if does fall into a few annoying recognizable stereotypes.

Gray day.

Cast & Crew


Charlotte Gray Rating

" Good "

Rating: PG-13, 2001


More Cate Blanchett

Warner Bros Call Disney's 'Jungle Book' Cast and Raise Them Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett

While two high budget Jungle Book adaptations coming out within a year of each other from rival studios seems like a confusing prospect, it certainly...

The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies Trailer

Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and the mini-army of dwarves led by Thorin are facing an evermore deadly path in their pursuit of the Lonely Mountain and...

How to Train Your Dragon 2 Movie Review

Bigger and even richer than the terrific 2010 hit animation, this sequel is also quite possibly the best action-adventure movie of the year. Not only...

Robert Redford & Cate Blanchett In Talks With 'Rathergate' Producers To Play Don Rather & Mary Mapes

It's only been ten years since Don Rather reported on a CBS news programme about the Killian documents, which supposedly showed how former President George...


5 Things You Should Know About 'How To Train Your Dragon 2'

How To Train Your Dragon 2 is set to be released in US cinemas today (13th June) and in just over a month in the...

America Ferrera Is "Over" Cannes Red Carpet Harassment

It’s good that the entertainment industry is finally talking about harassment an personal space because the situation is pretty bad. Take America Ferrera’s recent experience...

America Ferrera’s ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2’ Receives High Praise In Wake Of Gown Prank

America Ferrera was understandably shocked when a man jumped out from amidst the crowd of paparazzi and crawled under her gown at a recent film...

Why Did A Man Throw Himself Under America Ferrera's Dress At Cannes. Why?

Cannes is renown for its glamour and decorum; the world’s finest actors, directors, writers and producers – not to mention the money people putting millions...