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Posts Tagged ‘Campbell Scott’

Haley Lu Richardson, Elizabeth McGovern

“THE CHAPERONE” My rating: C+

103 minutes | No MPAA rating

A pall of old-fashioned made-for-TV mediocrity hangs over much of “The Chaperone,” a Masterpiece Theatre production based on a highly-regarded novel by Lawrence resident Laura Moriarty, adapted by Oscar-winning writer Julian Fellowes (“Downton Abbey,” “Gosford Park”) and featuring a more-than-solid cast.

Blame veteran TV director Michael Engler and a stingy budget for fumbling the ball here.

At first glance one might assume that this is the story of the young Louise Brooks, who in the 1920s went from Wichita to a starring role with a top New York dance troupe and then on to international stardom as the ultimate flapper and sex symbol of silent film.

Not really.  Brooks (played here by Haley Lu Richardson) certainly has a role in this yarn, but its real focus is a middle-aged Kansas  housewife and mother  (Elizabeth McGovern) who agrees to chaperone the young hellion during her Big Apple sojourn. In  the process the older woman finds her own world exploding and expanding.

Norma (McGovern) first lays eyes on 15-year-old Louise at a Wichita dance recital where she is mightily impressed by girl’s flamboyant Isadora Duncan-ish flouncing. Norma is a stolid Midwestern matron, stuck in a sexless marriage (that’ll be explained later) to a lawyer (Campbell Scott); they have twin college-bound sons.

When she learns that Louise has won a coveted spot with the famous Denishawn modern dance company in NYC, and that the girl’s parents are looking for an appropriate chaperone to accompany their daughter to the big city, she volunteers. Heck, she needs some adventure.

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