Jonathan Demme abandons his usual style for this remake of Charade populated with references and tributes to the films of Truffaut, Godard, and the rest of the French New Wave. Those unfamiliar with that movement may have a hard time connecting with the movie, but the strong presence, intelligence, and composure of Thandie Newton makes this film worthwhile for those less familiar with film history. The movie is as much a love letter to her as it is to French film, photographing her beautifully and allowing her to own the screen with her sophisticated beauty. Newton's work is certainly equal to, if not better than, Hepburn's star turn in Charade. Sadly, this is a film about film more than it is about people. Arguably the most humanist director since Jean Renoir, Demme's sympathetic eye for the quirky is of no use in this setting. He is left to do little more than play the cinematic version of "Name That Tune" with the loving allusions to his favorite films, and savor the superb performance from Newton. The work of a great director spinning his wheels, The Truth About Charlie is certainly entertaining for anyone who will appreciate the cameo appearances by Charles Aznavour and Anna Karina.
by Perry Seibert review