This film is, how should one put it, an elegant and eloquent trifle, full of the verbal fripperies and embellishments that come with wealth and influence, but ultimately leaving an empty experience for all concerned. It's a tale of how easily a conman can take in people by adopting their mannerisms and lifestyle, to be come as it were "one of us." All you need is a little research, to be a skilled mimic and weave a spell with your words. Ah, but the rub is that the victims can then dine out for months on such a tale. To be self-deprecating in telling how you were deceived is to win over a fresh audience for the deception. So - a moral tale on how the mighty are never fallen for long!
This succeeds where many might have failed by virtue of a truly outstanding ensemble cast and the masterful direction of Fred Schepisi, whose serious work I have admired for some time (Plenty, Last Orders, A Cry in the Dark etc - try to ignore the romcoms!) His ability to inspire sublime performances from actors who might easily have gone through the motions (Sutherland, Channing etc.) and those who might have been awed and diffident in such exalted company (Smith) sets this film apart. That and a very convincing Fifth Avenue apartment set.
Wonder if Sidney Poitier was consulted beforehand...?!