Find out what is being said about this new film, based on the life of Chevalier de Saint-Georges.
The Guardian: **** “As Bologne flits from party to party, supping champagne and seducing married women, we enjoy elements of a Dangerous Liaisons-style courtly intrigue, alongside a backstage musical (complete with audition montages), and a historical primer on the French Revolution. And while Harrison’s performance may never fully reveal the nature of the man beneath these sumptuous layers of organza, silk and self-confidence, it’s enchanté Chevalier, all the same.”
Independent.ie: “Chevalier’s attention to detail is sporadic: when the widely hated Marie Antoinette attends a concert as the storm clouds of revolution gather, only a smattering of soldiers separate her from a surprisingly mannerly mob.”
City Am: “Those who have seen Harrison in his breakthrough drama Luce, or biopics Elvis and The Trial of The Chicago Seven, won’t be surprised to hear that he is the best thing about the film. Filled with the fire of someone who has had to fight for every step gained, he faces excruciating confrontations with grace and gives a glimpse of what it is to survive in such times. He has magnetic chemistry with Samara Weaving, who plays a white actress he falls in love with. One scene, where the pair discuss what marriage means to them, is absolutely heart-breaking. In support, Minnie Driver and Marton Csokas are deeply affecting as society figures intent on holding Bologne back.”
Empire: *** “The film impresses as a period piece actually interested in Blackness as part of a social dynamic and how it would affect the wealthy, so it’s a shame that it gradually loses its infectious energy. With its upending of audience expectations around historical figures, the best moments of Chevalier both celebrate and lament the great showmen that have spent so long waiting to be honoured.”
The Upcoming: *** “Harrison Jr excels as the musical maestro, harnessing the charm, talent, wit and presence that Chevalier reportedly possessed. Boynton and Samara Weaving also shine in their respective supporting roles and on the whole it truly is a movie that boasts a number of excellent performances. But it is the music and score running throughout the film that is without question the top highlight, with Kris Bowers, the composer of previous movies such as Green Book and King Richard really capturing the essence of the period and Chevalier’s own style.”
Evening Standard: **** “As a portrait of a thrillingly toxic friendship, Chevalier hits all the right notes. And if Boynton shines as the wily royal, Ronke Adekoluejo as Joseph’s salty, culturally proud mum, who suddenly shows up in Paris after the death of his father, and Minnie Driver as opera diva, La Guimard, ageing disgracefully and spiteful to boot, also manage to give their characters depth. Joseph, drilled into viewing all men as rivals, is wont to under-estimate older women. Big mistake.”
Slant Magazine: *** “It’s a shame that, with Chevalier, Williams hasn’t made a film that matches the revolutionary spirit of Joseph Bologne’s life, but there’s still a lot of enjoyment to be taken from seeing a towering figure, long forgotten by history, returned to his rightful place at center stage. And, at least, Chevalier manages to find its fast ball again in time for the finale: an explosive set piece that sends the film, and an imperious Harrison Jr., off with a bang.”
The Arts Desk: ** “Frustratingly, Chevalier ends abruptly when there was plenty more story to tell, since Bologne subsequently became a colonel in the Legion St-Georges and was imprisoned during the revolutionary Reign of Terror. An extraordinary man, but not an extraordinary film.”
iNews: **** “Despite the cruelty of the era, this film makes time for the thrills of Bologne’s dashing, libertine existence. Entertaining and wise, it is a genuine corrective to the stuffy, all-white period dramas which have dominated for too long – and which viewers are slowly coming to reject.”
chevalier is out now in cinemas.