Masterpiece: The Chaperone

6.61 h 48 min2019X-RayNR
Norma Carlisle (Elizabeth McGovern) accompanies future star Louise Brooks (Haley Lu Richardson) to New York. Discover who these women are, and who they eventually become. Written by Julian Fellowes, based on the novel by Laura Moriarty.
Michael Engler
Elizabeth McGovernHaley Lu RichardsonGéza Röhrig
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Victoria HillMiranda OttoAndrew BurnapMatt McGrathBecky Ann BakerJayne HoudyshellRobert FairchildBlythe DannerCampbell Scott
Victoria HillRose GanguzzaKelly CarmichaelElizabeth McGovernGreg ClarkLuca ScalisiAndrew MannRebecca EatonSimon CurtisJulian FellowesKarin CattEli SeldenAdam Shulman
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Smokingalcohol usefoul languagesexual contentviolence
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4.4 out of 5 stars

740 global ratings

  1. 63% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 20% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 9% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 4% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Kass McGannReviewed in the United States on August 17, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Typical Jullian Fellows. But too short.
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A good, if fictionalized, story of It Girl Louise Brooks' beginnings before she became the girl everyone wanted to emulate. Don't expect a biography. Major elements of Louise's life have been changed. Norma is an invented character, and Brooks went to Los Angeles in 1922 to join the Denishawn School, not New York.

Still, it is a lovely tale -- more about Norma's evolution than Louise's -- and well done in all period aspects, as one would expect from Fellows. The incidental music is even reminiscent of Downton Abbey! If you liked Downton, you'll like this. I wish it had been a mini-series -- at least 6 episodes -- so we could have seen more of Brooks' rise to fame. But, again, it wasn't really Brooks' story but Norma's. And frankly, her little "mixed" family living together in 1942 Wichita is the most unbelievable thing in the whole tale.

Although I have to complain about these period pieces and their fixation on the "pain" and "restriction" and symbolic suppression embodied by the corset. Most corsets were no more restrictive than modern bras. And when women in the 20s discarded them, they replaced them with girdles, which also had laces and boning and were tight. It seems to be a symbol in every period movie that I watch, and it's so far off the truth that it irks me every single time. They weren't painful and they didn't leave scars on your back and only young girls with no shape could get away with not wearing one.
37 people found this helpful
AtticusReviewed in the United States on August 17, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Give credit where it's due
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It was Laura Moriarty who wrote the wonderful book, "The Chaperone," on which this film is based. Julian Fellowes has indeed done a great adaptation, worthy of the original material. The casting is mostly perfect (especially Elizabeth McGovern) -- I don't know who could possibly play Louise Brooks. Haley Lu Richardson, while lacking in the sophistication that even the young, very literary Brooks must have had, does very well with the Denishawn dance scenes. Production values and art direction superb, too. What a pity that such a great film does not get more than the briefest general release before landing on Amazon. I really loved it.
32 people found this helpful
Rita CampbellReviewed in the United States on December 15, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Surprising and thoughtful
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It was much better than I expected. I thought it was going to be something like a fluff piece on an exciting flapper. It wasn’t. It was fictional, I presume, based on truth, but I thought it was very satisfying, thoughtful, and quite surprising and a sympathetic portrayal.

I see from the comments that not everyone appreciated it and some were downright snobby and insulting. I didn’t experience it that way at all. It is for adults, and probably more a women’s film.

I loved the story! I didn’t cry at the end, but it gave me a lot to think about, and it was emotionally affecting. I felt that all the flashbacks and traumatic bits were very believable. Yes, life is that way.

I am happy I purchased it and it is part of my library now. I just finished watching all of Downton Abbey all six seasons, too, BTW. I enjoy Julián Fellows writing.

I love the costumes, the set designs, the complex relationships. I recommend it. It’s a historical/psychological drama, and I think it probably would appeal more to women. It had a romantic aspect that in some odd way I cannot explain, recalls the movie, The Bridges of Madison County. I thought all the actors were spot on.
26 people found this helpful
Angela HessonReviewed in the United States on December 9, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Elizabeth McGovern shines
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I fear the last two generations have been brainwashed by Marvel Comics; hence, the negative reviews. The Chaperone is a beautifully written film in which neither Batman nor Superman appear. It's a period piece about two women, Louise Brooks, an actress from the 20s and 30s, ahd her chaperone (Elizabeth McGovern) who accompanies Louise on her first trip to New York. While Louise Brooks fumbles and stumbles along in her desire to be free, it is her chaperone who blossoms with freedom in her New York stay, in part because she admires Louise's philosophy about being her own woman. Elizabeth McGovern shines brilliantly in her role as the chaperone. It's so good to see her back in big screen films. Set in the 1920s, the film, in a nutshell, is about two American women experiencing freedom in an age which had just given women the right to vote. You cheer for both of these women as they make their OWN way in the world.
19 people found this helpful
Tina the S.Reviewed in the United States on December 15, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Masterpiece: "The Chaperone" Truly Wonderful!
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A great and very realistic period drama which goes far beyond the period in which it is set to portray a very real story of two women and their responses to what Life shoves at them...and how one goes beyond her "fate" and "lot in life" to find her own happiness due to her own resourcefulness and efforts and kindnesses. Her responses to what Life hands her are brilliant, showing how spirit can overcome life's disappointments. Well-acted and believable, this movie can be watched many times with pleasure. A satisfying story for inspiration and entertainment..and NOT just for women either!
20 people found this helpful
Kiki BeanReviewed in the United States on November 17, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
A lovely way to pass a few hours on a Sunday afternoon.
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Entertaining fictionalized story. For those wanting historical accuracy, you should look for a biography or a documentary on Louise Brooks. But if you enjoy seeing how novelists and screenwriters create a story from biographical and historical information, then you'll love it. Historical fiction does a great job of giving us a hint of what the world used to be like--although it's impossible not to view the past through our modern lens.

The 1922 setting was fantastic. The sets and costumes were great. I love how all of the women look like real women--the men, too, for that matter. That's something U.K. filmmakers excel in, using actors who look like ordinary people rather than supermodels, which makes their characters more relatable.

The movie's plot and themes were warm, engaging, and interesting. The acting was great, the casting spot on.
7 people found this helpful
Naomi EdenReviewed in the United States on August 23, 2019
3.0 out of 5 stars
somewhat agenda driven
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As per usual with PBS there are certain agenda's being pushed. I found the storyline about adoption the most important and emotionally real aspect of the production, one moment brought me to tears. The young actress was not very likable, which may have been the point.
11 people found this helpful
Patricia NealReviewed in the United States on August 11, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Fellows' humanity shines
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What a lovely movie from 'Downton Abbey' Julian Fellowes' mind. He takes a sliver of real history and ties it up in a neat bundle of raw energy and humility. His studies of human behavior in his chosen media left me breathless. I will not go into details because I want you to see this. Mr. Fellowes masters the art of storytelling with beautiful scenes of New York between World Wars. His strong female lead never compromises her morals. This movie will leave you in shock one moment, then slowly comes around to telling reasons why it was so shocking. Thank you PBS!!!!
5 people found this helpful
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