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Acting natural with 'The Rachel Papers'



Rachel_papersTODAY'S RETRO-REVIEW: 1989's "The Rachel Papers," starring Dexter Fletcher (Elephant Man, The Bounty) and the always lovely Ione Skye. Based on a novel by Martin Amis. Directed by Damian Harris.

THE PLOT: "Charles Highway" (Fletcher) is a ladies man of sorts on the fast track to Oxford University, until he's bewitched by the lovely "Rachel Noyce" (Skye), an American who is not easily seduced by his British charm. Only once he's won her does Charles recognize Rachel's unlikeable qualities.

MAYBE YOU REMEMBER: In the movie, Charles addresses the audience directly during his narration -- something that reminded a lot of people of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."

SURELY YOU CAN'T FORGET: In a huge step away from his usual roles, Jonathan Pryce plays "Norman," the socially and culturally deficient brother-in-law to Charles. James Spader, on the other hand, plays "Deforest," a nearly exact duplicate of his role as "Steff" in "Pretty in Pink."

WHAT THE CRITICS SAID: "The movie's final flight path is disappointingly familiar: There are obstacles, then all of a sudden they've disappeared. ... We feel let down by the cool, bland insignificance of it. Certainly, you think, there was more at stake than this?" -- Hal Hinson, Washington Post

WHY WE LOVE IT ANYWAY: Sure, the plot is familiar. Truth be told, it's nearly identical to 1981's "Gregory's Girl" at times with an ending that feels like "Annie Hall." But there's a warm, cozy feeling to the familiarity here. And we root for Charles the same way you rooted for Woody Allen -- because sometimes, you just need the eggs.


5. "Real bastards are penniless bastards."

4. "That's the trouble with first impressions -- you always have to keep them up."

3. "If there's one thing that mothers don't want to see in you, it's whatever it is that their daughters do."

2. "Parties of this kind are not given, they're received."

1. "Who's ever got time to act natural with a girl?"

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:38pm]


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