‘Chevalier’ Movie Review: A Beautiful and Brilliant Period Piece
When I first saw the trailer for Chevalier, high expectations were immediately established. I adore period pieces, and this felt like a powerful story that needed to be told. So, did it deliver? So much yes.
The incredible true story of composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges inspires the film. His mother was an African slave, and his father was a French plantation owner. As an illegitimate son, Bologne was shipped off to school. And it wasn’t long before he became a violinist-composer and fencer. His numerous talents aided in his rise to the top of French society. However, an ill-fated love affair and a falling out with Marie Antoinette and her court changed the course of his life and suppressed his stories for centuries.
Chevalier Movie Trailer
Chevalier Movie Review: What I Did and Didn’t Like
Get ready for my glowing endorsement. Because I have nothing to complain about here. The acting, costumes, set design, music, etc… were all superbly done, creating an enchanting cinematic escape that is absolutely engrossing for audiences.
Simply put, it’s one of the best period films in recent years. It transports you to 18th-century France, and when the film ends, you don’t want to leave – even though a revolution is about to occur.
That being said, this film doesn’t only appeal to the “Bridgerton” and “Jane Austin”-loving audience, which it might seem to at first glance. What you’ll actually find here is a powerful story from history that many aren’t familiar with.
The performances here are all incredible. But it’s Kelvin Harrison Jr. that truly stands out. His portrayal of Joseph Bologne was passionate, powerful, and moving. And in case you’re wondering, that is him playing the violin in the film.
Samara Weaving also delivers a beautiful performance, creating a chemistry with Harrison Jr. that is palpable. I always enjoy watching Weaving on the big screen. She has a gift to convey so much with just her eyes, and it’s memorizing to watch.
It’s a beautifully crafted film filled with outstanding performances. However, the foundation for greatness here is found in the script, which tells this story with such passion and eloquence. The dialogue is thoughtful and feels realistic to each of the characters. And while the one-hour and 47-minute run time does pack a lot in to tell the story of Bologne’s life, it keeps the film moving at a pace that keeps the audience focused.
I only have two complaints. I would have loved to have seen more of some of the characters surrounding Bologne, especially Nanon, Bologne’s mother (played by Ronke Adekoluejo). The screen time that Adekoluejo and Harrison Jr. share is moving and provides more character depth. However, their reunion and the evolution of their relationship feels a tad rush because of the lack of time the film has to spend on their joint story.
Seeing more of Marie Antoinette (played by Lucy Boynton) would have also been nice, as this was a different portrayal of Antoinette than what we’ve previously seen on the big screen. While it would have been interesting to see the different approach to Antoinette further explored (for the additional context of everything that was happening in France at the time), this movie isn’t about her. So again, these are minor complaints.
Ultimately, all of the pieces here work seamlessly together to capture the emotions of this era while also shining a light on a remarkable untold story.
I rarely watch a movie and immediately think about how I want to watch it again. However, that was the case here. It’s a beautiful, brilliant, and moving film. And I’m absolutely in love with every part of it – between the exceptional performances, the incredible music, and the captivating script.
And I suspect that the music from this one will be hard to beat come the next award season.
Chevalier Movie Review
Chevalier 60-Second Movie Review
Note: FanBolt’s Featured Image is fan art created by FanBolt purely for the love of design and fan culture. (We’re movie and design nerds). The property and fandom inspire the artwork, and no infringement is/was intended. Chevalier is the property of Searchlight Pictures.