Set during World War II, Charlotte Gray deals with this significant time in history when a great number of men died in war. War films often focus on men at the front line while women who are mothers, wives and lovers lament the loss of their son, husband or loved one. But for the film’s protagonist, whose name gives the film its title, the situation is different. At a time when the social and political climate called for change, Charlotte was a guerrilla soldier with the French Resistance fighting the Germans, while on the personal side, she was looking for her boyfriend Peter, a missing pilot. Overall she was a woman caught between her country and her love.
This is another war story retold through a woman placed in an unfamiliar territory and situation. The unusual state of the world at war is signalled by the various attitudes of the villagers toward war, the differing battle fronts and the fake identities such as the false name that Charlotte takes, Dominique Gilbert. Regardless, Charlotte chooses to go her own way. Cate Blanchett, who gave a superb performance in Elizabeth and Oscar and Lucinda, plays the strong and dignified yet warm Charlotte Gray.
Gillian ArmstrongGillian Armstrong
An Australian film director, Gillian Armstrong won an award at the Sydney Film Festival for a short film in 1976, and received international acclaim and numerous awards as the director of My Brilliant Career (1979). Her subsequent works include Australian films such as The Last Days of Chez Nous (1993) and Oscar and Lucinda (1997) as well as U.S. films such as Mrs. Soffel (1984) and Little Women (1994). In 1998 Gillian Armstrong was given the Women in Hollywood Icon Award in recognition of her contribution to the film industry, having already twice been awarded the Dorothy Arzner Award for Directing in 1993 and 1995.