Stephen Frears

Stephen Frears delivers yet another great film...
Stephen Frears delivers yet another great film…

I just got back from screening Cheri (2009), and while I’d have to watch the film again at least once to write a proper review of that film, I am prepared to say that it puzzles me that director Stephen Frears is so seldom mentioned in lists of greatest living directors. I don’t know if it is that he is British and works outside of the Hollywood system (if he does) or whether its the fact that his films often focus on melancholy people rather than cartoon heroes.

Neither are his films limited in scope. Yes, he has some recurring motifs and themes, but he doesn’t keep making the same film over and over. I realize, of course, that the blogosphere is filled with such hyperbole and that there is no single right answer to such questions. But consider the following excerpts from his filmography:

Masterpieces: High Fidelity (2000); Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005); The Queen (2006)

Above Average Films: Dirty Pretty Things (2002); My Beautiful Laundrette ( 1985); Dangerous Liasons (1988); The Grifters (1990); Hero (1992); Cheri (2009).

Really, that’s quite a batting average. And he is remarkably consistent. Of the films I’ve seen, only Mary Reilly (1996) and The Hi-Lo Country (1998) were what I’d call disappointments, and both those films have their defenders.

What is your favorite Stephen Frears film? And why do you think he doesn’t get the love and acclaim of some of his contemporaries?

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