In this handsome period piece perfectly suited for cinephiles of all stripes, director Michael Engler (Downton Abbey, 30 Rock, Six Feet Under) and screenwriter Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey, Gosford Park) bring a fascinating slice of pre-Hollywood history to light in a coming-of-age story centering on the relationship between the young, free-spirited and soon-to-be international screen starlet Louise Brooks (a riveting, high-intensity Haley Lu Richardson) and her tee-totalling chaperone (a wonderfully nuanced Elizabeth McGovern). On their journey from the conservative confines of Wichita Kansas to the flash and sizzle of New York City, both women are driven by a kindred desire for self-discovery and liberation from the past. Based on the book by Laura Moriarty and anchored by a superb supporting cast (Miranda Otto, Géza R?hrig, and Blythe Danner in a key cameo), The Chaperone is a sensitive, resonant, and illuminating tale of women's lives in the early 20th century.
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If you're expecting a movie about Louise Brooks and the 1920's, forget it.<br/><br/>This movie is mostly about the chaperone. Despite it being set almost 100 years ago, her issues are all very mid-21st century -- gayness, immigrants, feminism, an adoptee identity crisis, and getting laid. And while ordinarily, I love Elizabeth McGovern, she's a little over the top here -- she's working so hard to show every momentary emotion on her face that she's almost twitchy.<br/><br/>Haley Lu Richardson is good as Louise Brooks, but the part is off the shelf -- the snarky, ambitious hot girl. Blythe Danner is also good in a small part.<br/><br/>The costumes are beautiful, but strangely one-note -- there are an awful lot of white or cream dresses paired with brown flowered hats. Read More
Elizabeth McGovern is the reason to see this. She brings to life what, in other hands, could be a cliched character. She has become a much more interesting actress as she's aged; you can't take your eyes off her (those eyes!). The Louise Brooks subplot serves its purpose but seems a bit strained. Blythe Danner, Miranda Otto, Campbell Scott and other familiar names essay their supporting roles well, and the period is recreated nicely. Overall, very entertaining and not nearly as predictable as you would think. Read More
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Julian Fellows creator of Downton Abbey and 2002 Oscar Winner for Best Original Screenplay for Gosford Park is a master of storytelling and character development.<br/><br/>The Chaperone is such an interesting insight into the differences in attitudes , judgements and moral and racial prejudices of the early 1920's between 2 American cities Kansas and New York.<br/><br/>I really liked the way Julian Fellows has made The Chaperone Norma the main character rather than her much later famous ward Louise Brooks played beautifully by Haley Lu Richardson , recently also very impressive in Five Feet Apart.The story is seen through the life experience of Norma ,who at first seems uncomplicated and sweet but as the story develops we soon know why Norma's not in Cherryville Kansas anymore .<br/><br/>I think this is the best role I've seen Elizabeth Mc Govern play we're so used to her famous role of Cora Crawley Countess of Grantham that this role as the Chaperone at times very dramatic and other times so touching and intelligent is a refreshing example of this actress and her range.<br/><br/>Louise Brooks went on to become one of the most famous and at times infamous Silent movie Jazz Age Stars and this movie is only a snapshot of Louise before her Hollywood fame. Haley Lu Richardson gives us a glimpse of why her determination and devil may care attitude propelled her to stardom but later sent her crashing to earth and virtual retirement in 1938 until much later her memoir Lulu in Hollywood published in 19823 years before she died caused such a renewed interest in her films and talent.<br/><br/>As in previous Julian Fellows productions the attention to detail in costumes sets and direction are faultless .<br/><br/>I really loved this film and thoroughly recommend it. Read More