colette

DIRECTOR: Wash Westmoreland (the last of robin hood, still alice)
STARRING: keira knighley, dominic west, denise gough, and eleanor tomlinson

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

★★★

After moving to Paris, author Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette agrees to ghostwrite a semi-autobiographical novel for her husband. Its success soon inspires her to fight for creative ownership and overcome the societal constraints of the early 20th century.

Where has Keira Knightley been? She was the 'it' girl in the 2000's taking the top young actress roles. But she's kind of slipped off the cultural radar in recent years appearing in less well known films and in supporting roles. That changed last year when she took a lead role in Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms with everyone remarking on how truly annoying her chosen vocal tones were in it. They were truly awful. But now she's back in the lead role in Colette which is a very well acted if not merely serviceable tale. 

 

After marrying successful Parisian writer Henry Gauthier-Villars, known commonly as "Willy", Gabrielle Colette  is transplanted from her childhood home in rural France to the intellectual and artistic splendour of Paris. Soon after, Willy convinces Colette to ghostwrite for him. Colette, in turn, pens a semi-autobiographical novel about a witty and brazen country girl named Claudine, sparking a bestseller and a cultural sensation. 

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette is a feminist icon who pushed against the archaic and restrictive boundaries in the arts and in life. So its such a shame that the film that bears her name is not as explosive or boundary pushing as it could of been instead its more of a paint by numbers bio film that colours very neatly within those defined lines. 

Colette's story; the restrictions of the times, her romantic relationship with Willy and her control of her, her romantic relationships with women, and her literary accomplishments are all covered in the story. Its all laid out before you, and Colette really is intriguing and her story is astounding but its never quite driven home, it never really wows you. Perhaps its because there is so much material there to cover that it never really delves deep. I'm really not sure. 

That's not to say that Colette is not enjoyable - it very much is. The acting is superb and her life story is extremely interesting. I just wanted a little more. 

Colette is a perfectly serviceable and enjoyable bio film but it never quite astounds as it should. 

★★★

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