But before he makes it, he has a long affair with a cocotte (Kim Stanley) twice his age.
For both the teen-age Chéri and his between-age Léa, life is over at the end of Act I—and so is the play. Thereafter, the two can only mope while apart, come uneasily together, then part once more. When they meet, they talk too much, weep too much, moralize too much. Between whiles, Chéri chiefly features amusing-looking demireps, whose talk is incredibly dull. Eventually Léa. at 60, reaches the age of content, but Chéri kills himself.
Fairly interesting while chronicling its love affair, Chéri afterward does little realistically with fractured lives, little nostalgically with fragrant memories. There is no more wit to its frivolous scenes than depth to its sober ones. The audience can only watch a lost young man and a woman who gets older and older. At whatever age, Kim Stanley proves a gifted actress, but she seems about as Gallic as cornflakes and as demimondaine as Betsy Ross. She is forever fighting a role as well as a script.