While on holiday, Regina "Reggie" Lampert (Audrey Hepburn) decides to divorce her tall, dark and mysterious husband because she suspects he is hiding something from her. Returning home, she discovers her apartment has been striped clean of all her possessions and every stick of furniture. The sole thing occupying the flat is a police officer bearing bad news: Charles is dead, and it appears her whole married life has been a charade.
Things get even worse when the stunned widow is summoned to meet with Hamilton Bartholomew (Walter Matthau), a representative of the CIA. By his account, Charles Lampert double-crossed three fellow conspirators after the team stole a quarter of a million dollars from the US government. Charles' untimely death is evidence that his disgruntled buddies are still searching for their share of the gold, as are its rightful owners. Due to her relationship to the deceased, Reggie is the best lead to the fortune, and can expect her life to be threatened too.
With this frightening piece of motivation, Reggie solicits a kind stranger (Cary Grant) to help her find the money before the thugs find her. But the act isn't over. Even as she places her trust in the handsome man, deception continues to hound her during the ensuing cat and mouse game.
Although Charade portrays a flirtatious relationship between the main characters, the biggest concern for families will be its violent depictions. Constant peril, gun-carrying callous criminals, and close-up shots of the numerous murder victims faces will make this movie too shocking for younger viewers.
Yet few films have blended suspense with romantic comedy as successfully as this "whodunit." Perhaps it's the chemistry between Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant (two of Hollywood's brightest stars), mixed with the stirring Henry Mancini score. Or maybe it's the masked motivations in the compelling, plot-twisting screenplay. Either way, this superb thriller's contrast between chill and charm will keep older audiences on the edge of their seats until the final curtain call.