The Rachel Papers is a 1989 British film written and directed by Damian Harris, and based on the novel of the same name by Martin Amis.

It stars Dexter Fletcher, Ione Skye, Jonathan Pryce, James Spader, Bill Paterson, Jared Harris, Claire Skinner, Lesley Sharp and Michael Gambon.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about
the entire movie.

Nineteen-year-old Charles (Dexter Fletcher) is a highly self-confident and intelligent teenager about to attend Oxford University. Before he does he intends to use all his charm and charisma to seduce a beautiful American girl, Rachel (Ione Skye).

Charles becomes infatuated with Rachel, and after numerous rebuffs he eventually forms a friendship with her. Things become complicated, however, and his strategy is threatened. Rachel already has a boyfriend, DeForest (James Spader); however, he is a control freak who treats her badly.

With help from his sister Jenny (Lesley Sharp), his eccentric brother-in-law Norman (Jonathan Pryce) and his best friend/mentor Geoff (Jared Harris), Charles eventually lures Rachel away from DeForest & his father Gordon (Bill Paterson) is impressed with Charles' new quarry.

However, as the unlikely relationship develops, Charles discovers that his seemingly "perfect" woman has numerous bad habits and personality traits, just like all of the other "lesser" girls he has previously seduced.

Angered by some of Rachel's habits, Charles becomes bored and is seduced by, and later sleeps with, his old flame Gloria (Claire Skinner), ending his relationship with Rachel, who subsequently moves to New York.

Charles still ends up going to Oxford University, but he does not enjoy his time there, feeling that his life is missing something following the end of his relationship with Rachel. Rachel and Charles accidentally meet up again in a museum and spend the whole day together, but at the end, Rachel kisses him only on the cheek and leaves.

We hear Charles in voiceover saying that he tried to remember William Blake's quotation about love being eternal, so that he could say it to Rachel, but he was unable to.

Cast[edit | edit source]

  • Dexter Fletcher as Charles Highway
  • Ione Skye as Rachel Noyce
  • Jonathan Pryce as Norman
  • James Spader as Deforest
  • Bill Paterson as Gordon Highway
  • Michael Gambon as Dr. Knowd
  • Lesley Sharp as Jenny
  • Jared Harris as Geoff

Production[edit | edit source]

"The Rachel Files" began filming in October 1988 and was filmed in London, England.

Box Office[edit | edit source]

Domestically, "The Rachel Files" grossed $201,468.

Critical Reception[edit | edit source]

Hal Hinson from the Washington Post described the film as a "coming-of-age tale whose major piece of advice is to cut the bull."

Variety magazine said, "The basic material is as old as the hills, but Martin Amis, who wrote the original novel some 15 years earlier, explored it in fresh directions."

In TV Guide's review of the film, "Writer-director Damian Harris (son of actor Richard) gives the conventions of teen romantic comedy a realistic twist: for once, boy loses girl and both go their separate ways."

Trailer[edit | edit source]


The rachel Papers Trailer 1989 (VHS Capture)

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