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Overall Rating
4.69

Awesome82.86%
Worth A Look: 11.43%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 2.86%
Total Crap: 2.86%

2 reviews, 23 user ratings


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Charade
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by mincemeat

"Charmed, I'm sure."
5 stars

Quite possibly the most charming movie ever made, starring the absolutely perfect Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn.

Charade’s plot steps neatly from suspense to romance to comedy and back again, slyly spoofing spy adventures and Hitchcock. This film might have stopped at being a fluffy romantic comedy excuse to watch Hepburn and Grant, but it doesn’t stop there. It’s genuinely frightening and tense -– until it gets cute and flirty again.

It’s hard to imagine a movie being more perfect: the director handles whiplash changes in tone without a misstep; the fabulous looking, witty stars are having a ball; the supporting cast includes a mustachioed Walter Matthau, George Kennedy wearing a hook for a hand, and James Coburn in tight pants. Henry Mancini’s restless Latin rhythms, spooky guitar and swoopy strings match the film's shifting personalities. The credit sequence is a master of mod animation that would make the guys who did the Catch Me If You Can credits green with envy. And the costumes, by Givenchy –- think bubble sunglasses, hooded sweaters and sequined tunics -- are positively timeless.

So why the hell did Jonathan Demme remake it (as The Truth About Charlie) starring Marky Mark Wahlberg in 2002? Ridiculous. Unnecessary. Abomination.

Back to the real Charade. They meet:

Grant: Do we know each other?
Hepburn: Why, do you think we’re going to?
Grant: I don’t know. How would I know?
Hepburn: Because I already know an awful lot of people. Until one of them dies, I couldn’t possibly meet anyone else.
Grant: Well, if anyone goes on the critical list, let me know.

Unbeknownst to Hepburn, her husband just has. And the fun begins.

Apparently Charles, her doomed husband, had a sum of money that all the supporting players are after, and they’ve just killed him to get it. Hepburn, who had been planning a divorce, knows nothing of the money or her husband’s past. She fears for her life, and Grant pops up as protector.

Grant and Hepburn seem to be a perfect match. His devilish banter and wicked smile bring out a sassy side to her doe-eyed sweetness. They’re quick together like he was quick with Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday. But is Grant what he seems? Can you believe anything anyone tells you in a movie called “Charade”?

The mysteries will be solved, but not before a wicked amount of ad-libbed flirting and pulse-quickening surprises. There are guns, and blood, a rooftop fight, a drowning, and several terrified screams.

If you had to find fault, you could. The Johnny Mercer-penned ballad is corny every which way. There are a few poor-helpless-girl comments at the beginning that might curl your feminist toes. But only the coldest hearted will be offended by the 25-year age gap between the leads; Hepburn, winsome as she is, at 34 is old enough to know what she’s doing. (Of course, she does have impeccable taste).

Sure, romantic comedies can be fun. And spy adventures are exhilarating. But the best of both worlds is undeniably Charade, the most charming film of the 20th century -– and, most likely, the 21st.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5889&reviewer=354
originally posted: 02/18/04 14:36:59
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

3/22/18 Suzanne The city of Paris, the score, the two leads - perfect! 5 stars
4/13/15 jokerass lol 1 stars
2/20/15 Chris Jarmick breezy, hitchcockian-Catch a Thief styled romantic suspense classic 4 stars
10/17/12 Keith Miron I've seen this movie so many times, I knew who the killer was the first minute into the mov 4 stars
8/21/11 Lawrence Mercer Love Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn 4 stars
8/11/11 Sharon Hinrichs Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn! What more could you want?! 5 stars
5/19/10 ikkin74 Cary Grant is superb! A must see! 5 stars
7/12/09 the dork knight Plot is secondary to Grant and Hepburn. They are awesome on-screen. 5 stars
6/02/09 Holly GREAT ACTING AND SUSPENSFUL PLOT!!! 5 stars
1/26/09 jgtbld A Classic - fun and entertaining 5 stars
6/04/08 PAUL SHORTT SPARKLES WITH ALL THE VIGOR OF FRESHLY UNCORKED CHAMPAGNE 4 stars
12/15/07 Pamela White Cary and Hepburn have chemistry great plot 5 stars
6/28/07 fools♫gold I can think of no motion picture more thoughtfully important, and will never think of one. 5 stars
11/02/05 David Fowler Obviously above Butterbean's head. Brilliant, charming, irresistable. Gorgeous score! 5 stars
4/29/05 Nobody One of my all-time favorite old movies, a real classic 5 stars
9/26/04 Tor Honolulu If you can find better star power in a more engaging movie, then please let me know 5 stars
3/02/04 Margie Can't go wrong with Audrey and Cary Grant. What the hell were they thinking remaking this?! 5 stars
2/25/04 susan lee way better than the remake ...class film with two stars 5 stars
9/07/03 Amanda Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant were great together, one of my all time favorites 5 stars
6/03/03 Goofy Maxwell Accept no imitations...ummm...well, you know, except for this one of course. 5 stars
8/16/02 I Can't Swim Fantastic chemistry bet. Cary & Audrey; great script & they're in Paris..who can top that? 5 stars
5/29/02 Butterbean A goofy and dated "suspense" flick. I was bored. 2 stars
4/12/02 R.W. Welch Very engaging mystery lark with exceptional writing. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  05-Dec-1963 (NR)
  DVD: 06-Apr-2004

UK
  N/A (PG)

Australia
  02-Dec-1963 (PG)




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