Cate Blanchett in ‘Charlotte Gray’

We are in the final stretch of the podcast series. This week it’s another of Cate Blanchett’s many titular roles and Charlotte Gray (2001). In this episode Murtada discusses Gillian Armstrong’s World War II film, the many loving close ups she affords Balnchett and whether the film works as both a sweeping epic romance and a narrative about life in occupied France during the war.

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What is the film about?

From IMDB: A young Scottish woman joins the French Resistance during World War II to rescue her Royal Air Force boyfriend who is lost in France.

What year did it come out?

2001.

Box Office: US= $741,000 Outside US = $4.5MM

Critical Response: Metacritic : 48    RT: 33 

Topics Discussed:

  • The top notch crew behind this film. From the director Gillian Armstrong (Oscar and Lucinda) to the cinematographer Dion Bebe (Memoirs of a Geisha) and custom designer Janty Yates (House of Gucci).
  • The many loving and gorgeous closeup Cate Blanchett is afforded in this film.
  • Does the film work as a sweeping epic romance as well as a narrative about life in occupied France during World War II? Two scenes are dissected .
  • Charlotte Gray announces early in the film, “I want to be brave.” Does the film deliver on that declaration?
Billy Crudup and Cate Blanchett in Charlotte Gray

Film within context of Cate’s career:

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One thought on “Cate Blanchett in ‘Charlotte Gray’

  1. After hearing this was about the exploits of some of the most decorated and highly regarded Special Operations women in wartime history – it quickly became obvious it was wrong to listen to those who compared Charlotte Gray to brave resistance giants like Nancy Wake, etc. For those who don’t care to examine fine story details or fans of Gillian Armstrong and Kate Blanchet, this will fit the bill nicely – others may find themselves lulled into disappointment.
    Was it the director who invested too much energy into arty and flamboyant camera movements, instead of concentrating on essential story and character development? Or was it her D.O.P. (Dion Beebe) rehearsing for his next project ‘Chicago’ (that was much more suited to this overly flamboyant style)

    Kate Blanchet seemed to be playing by numbers as if she perhaps might also have felt her character’s motivations were underdeveloped. The romantic Mills and Boon ending also added to the feel the whole thing trivialized the seriousness and tragedy of the French resistance. Among other situations, it was hard to understand why the ‘underground’ resistance fighter (Billy Crudup) would attract attention by screaming hateful abuse –in broad daylight– while the German army was rolling through the streets of collaborating Vichy! Out of all, Michael Gambon fairs best as his father. It’s a pity this serious subject was largely glossed over.

    Like

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