""Charlotte Gray" is a film which has left me stunned, amazed and grateful at the chance for being able to see such brilliance. The movie consists of a simply thrilling storyline, beautiful scenery and wonderous acting on the parts of every character. It is a film for those who are willing to believe anything is possible - that "there must be something to set against all this".Charlotte Gray is a young Scottish woman who falls in love with a soldier who goes off to WW2. His plane crashes, and so, she becomes a spy to go to Occupied France to rescue him. Upon arriving in the Vichey France; she meets a team of revolutionaries and a new, and tangled storyline emerges from there. Many criticise both book and film for shirking on the WW2 accuracy, but I feel that it *concentrates* on ceratin aspects of the War, instead of skimming over about twenty different circumstances.Cate Blanchett is unbelievably good as Charlotte - she performs excellently and you can see how her character changes and grows throughout the film. Her stirring speech at the near the end of the movie is simply amazing - she delivers it with feeling and emotion. Billy Crudup took my breath away. He was more than fantastic in his role! He breathed life into the character of Julien, and captured my imagination with his performance. Truly excellent! Notable mentions go to all the other actors, but Billy and Cate stole the show, in my opinion.If you are looking for a fantstic movie that will take you to another time and place, make you think, and allow you to both remember the pain and tragedy that WW2 brought; and the hope for humanity that was displayed by the brave people who fought for good - Charlotte Gray is the movie for you. 10/10 - Simply Amazing!!"
Well played and underrated
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie seems to get a bad rap for strange reasons. I had no problem whatsoever with the accents, nor did I think Cate Blanchett's wardrobe was overly nice for wartime. (It was the FORTIES, and anyway, she's in muddy clothes for most of the film.) My one and only complaint is that we get a clearer sense of Charlotte as Dominique than of Charlotte as Charlotte. Things seem to progress a little too quickly early in the film, so that we don't know enough about who this girl was before she fell in love and started diving out of planes and blowing up Nazis. (This would help make the ending a tad more powerful.) Other than that--well played by all, very enjoyable, visually stunning, and as for the raging debate on accents, I'd like to say this: as Gillian Armstrong points out in the commentary, it's better to have British people with shallow accents than French people with accents so thick you can't understand them; Cate Blanchett was willing to do two-thirds of the film in French, but Armstrong feared criticism that her French wouldn't be perfect; and, as for those German-speaking Germans, they're foreigners taking over a foreign land. The fact that they're not speaking the language of the audience or the language of the townspeople makes them seem more alien and menacing. Do we desperately need to know exactly what they're saying? No, because you can figure out that they're not saying much beyond, "Get zem into ze truck" or "Stop making out on ze floor, Frenchies!" So sit back and enjoy."
GOOD-LOOKING BUT SPARKLESS PERIOD PIECE
Shashank Tripathi | Gadabout | 09/25/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Having loved "Shining Through" for half my life, I am enamored with romance tales set in the frantic times of war. Charlotte Gray had so much potential, it's a great-looking and atomospheric film with well-shot scenery and transporting period pieces, but it's allowed to wither away under lethargic pacing and a painfully diffuse screenplay.
Blanchett pitches in a disarming performance as Charlotte. For a spy she sure cries a lot but does well to get herself out of a pinch. When the hero of the film, played quite handsomely by Billy Crudup, tucks away two Jewish boys at a crumbling shed (ice-cold cliche alert) she becomes the unofficial nanny. In short, she gets to enjoy 1940s women empowerment while also being fussily maternal, bringing a warm human dimension to wartime spy games.
Problem is, we stumble from antic to dull antic without much focus and even our wondrous heroine can't help feeling equally confused, summing it all up perfectly with "I don't know what I'm doing here anymore".
I still give it three stars for dabbling in rewarding themes, such as questioning the meaning of bravery or acknowledging how war's extremes can be transforming, but the campy dialogue doesn't help much. All too often the film's Wise Ideas sound like they came straight from chinese fortune cookies, like "War makes fools of us all. The rest it kills". Um, ok.
Sad waste of some great talent and a stirring score by none other than John Barry."
kemp | 07/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I LOVED this movie. From the second it started, with its gorgeous shots of French lilacs or lavender or whatever beautiful purple flower they are, & its sublime musical score by Stephen Warbeck, I was hooked. Cate Blanchett is always dependably good, but she really shines here. Her role is that rare thing- a woman who is not a doormat, a girlfriend, a hooker, or a nun, and she never gets naked. How refreshing! Plus, it's directed by a woman- too cool! I found the love story between the characters of Charlotte Gray & Peter Gregory very believable & terribly romantic, and, as it should, it drives the film to its logical conclusion- a heartbreaking one. Indeed several scenes in this film made my eyes well up with tears. I also appreciated how Charlotte's experiences with loss weren't just glossed over, as in most movies I've seen where someone loses a loved one and by the next scene they're back to normal. Ms. Blanchett is to be commended for bringing that bit of true humanity to her character. It's just an all around beautifully made film, and I admire everyone involved in the making of it. The director's commentary is also very good and worth listening to, however she gives A LOT away, including parts of the book that weren't included in the film. She does a good job of answering her critics during her commentary, particularly speaking about her reasons for having the characters speak English, which originally struck me as a bit odd, but her reasons are legitimate, and, after all "Chocolat" & "Schindler's List," to name just two, are in English & nobody complained about that. One minor thing that I found annoying, though, was the quality of the disc's supplemental materials- they misspelled...both Cate Blanchett's & novelist Sebastian Faulks' names- shame on them!"
Her name is Charlotte Gray.
kemp | 12/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Magnificent throwback to the great espionage / romance movies of the Second World War. It begins briskly: young Scotswoman Charlotte Gray (Cate Blanchett) is riding in a train headed for London, reading Stendahl in the original French. Suddenly her compartment is invaded by a "civil servant" -- of the type characteristic in the novels of Graham Greene -- whose "cheerio", "Right, then!" manner doesn't obscure his knowing, nosy, calculated-for-effect questioning of the young woman. (He instantly takes note that she's fluent in French.) Miss Grey is not any more fooled than we are. The man leaves her an RSVP card for a "book launch" in London, and Charlotte, DYING for adventure, takes him up on it, suspecting that it's an invitation for something a little more important than bookchat. Of course she's proven right . . . and finds her destiny in one night, meeting a lover (an RAF pilot on leave) while putting her toe in the doorjamb of the Special Operations Executive (S.O.E.). The movie's set-up is superbly free of expository nonsense. She falls in love with her pilot and loses him (he's M.I.A. in Vichy) in the space of five minutes, and before you know it, she's training at the S.O.E. and free-falling via parachute into enemy territory. Ostensibly Charlotte is a courier and intelligence operative whose mission is to assist the local French Resistance, but her personal motivation is to search for her missing fly-boy. Another director might have taken an hour to arrive at this juncture, but Gillian Anderson is not interested in the boring stuff. She's interested in character. She's interested in her heroine's self-discovery, and finds it especially interesting that the heroine achieves self-discovery while pretending to be somebody else. Anderson is also interested in sacrifices, choices, and the consequences of each. It's all pretty heady stuff, which has apparently sailed over the heads of most of the reviewers here. I'm dumbfounded by the disdain from the female reviewers with regards to *Charlotte Gray*, a truly feminist movie if there ever was one. The editorial review (by a female) grouses about how the French speak English while the Germans speak German. That's insipid criticism: was she equally harsh on *Schindler's List*, a movie in which we have to endure laughable German accents from Messrs. Neeson and Fiennes while they speak ENGLISH? I doubt it. But hey, *Charlotte Gray* didn't make a lot of money, didn't win awards, isn't "taught" in high schools, so it must be bad. Another female reviewer (a Top 50 Reviewer, no less), complained about Ms. Blanchett's "perfect lipstick" throughout. The nature of these critical remarks reveals a good deal about their authors' intellectual capacity. You be the judge. But it's only fair to point out that this movie IS old-fashioned, after all: perhaps Julia Roberts' foul-mouthed Erin Brockovich suits the more cosmopolitan taste of today's gentler sex. -- Speaking of gentler sex . . . Cate Blanchett is ENTHRALLING. Fiercely intelligent, feminine, lovely, and tough as a mountain. What an amazing actress!"