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Quickie Review: The Chaperone

Louise Brooks was a silent screen phenomenon. A woman whose style all others copied. But before she was a star, she was just a teenager in Wichita, Kansas. The Chaperone is the story of her trip to New York at the age of 15 to attend a prestigious dance school and launch her career. And though she’s the one who became a star, it’s her chaperone who’s at the center of this Masterpiece Theater drama. A local woman named Norma Carlisle (Elizabeth McGovern, Downton Abbey) overhears Louise’s mother at a party lamenting that her daughter is in need of a chaperone and volunteers her services. She has an ulterior motive, of course. She’s escaping a fractured marriage and also searching for her birth mom who abandoned her decades earlier in a New York orphanage. Written and directed by Downton Abbey alums Michael Engler and Julian Fellowes, this period drama is a fascinating tale of liberation and self-discovery.

Mainstream Chick’s Middleburg Film Festival Download (2018)

Despite a few (hotel reservation and RSVP) potholes on the road to this year’s Middleburg Film Festival, all’s well that ends well! And what an ending it was. The closing film was my favorite film – by far – securing my only four-star ballot after four days of movie madness in the Virginia countryside.

So, without further ado, here’s what I saw, and how I ranked ‘em:

The Lucky One

At last check, The Lucky One had a rather unlucky 21% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I think that’s a little harsh. Sure, the movie is pure, unadulterated chickflick-romantic-drama-sap with a capital ‘S’. But if you made it through – or even sorta liked – all the other Nicholas Sparks books-turned-into-movies (The Notebook, Dear John, Message in a Bottle, The Last Song, Nights in Rodanthe…), then this one is what it is. More of the same (though far short of The Notebook).

In fact, if you saw Dear John, you may actually think you’re watching a remake of the same movie, only this time it’s starring Zac Efron (instead of Channing Tatum) as the war-scarred soldier (er, Marine) and Taylor Schilling (instead of Amanda Seyfried) as the blonde chick he falls for. And instead of a letter, there’s a photograph.