Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, popularly called just Colette, was a prolific and pathbreaking French authoress. She was a major proponent of women empowerment and gender-fluid relationships among many other things. For her novel Gigi, Colette was nominated for a Nobel prize. Adapting her life into a movie is an ambitious job. How does the 2018 movie fare?
A well-made film that has a very slow pace but stellar performances from the main cast.
2.Series and Info Links
ColetteAir Date: September 21, 2018 Status: Finished Studio: Number 9 Films, Bold Films, Killer Films
3.Is It Worth Watching?
Colette is a fitting biography to a writer who has been essential in kickstarting some of the most relevant issues of our time.
Colette is a lively young woman who lives in the French countryside. She is engaged in an affair with a much older man called Willy. After some time, the two get married and move to Paris.
In Paris, Colette comes to know Willy much better. Known as a ‘literary entrepreneur’ by his associates, Willy employs ghostwriters to write articles for him. Willy is also a profligate and a rake, which Colette finds out after catching him with a courtesan.
But Willy’s literary ventures have little to no success. Enthralled by the stories Colette told him about her schooldays, Willy asks his wife to write a book on it.
At first, he rejects the story that Colette writes but as his funds dry up, he publishes the book as a last resort. The book, Claudine à l’école, which is published under Willy’s name, becomes an instant hit.
Spurred by his first success (that is not really his), Willy locks up Colette in a room until she can provide him with another book. Colette writes about her life in Paris in the book Claudine à Paris. It becomes an even bigger hit than its predecessor.
Willy and Colette steadily become famous in the French intellectual circle. Colette becomes romantically involved with another woman called Georgie. Not one to be left behind, Willy starts an affair with the same lady. After getting to know this, Colette writes a third and final book about her heroine Claudine, Claudine en ménage.
Colette starts an affair with the androgynous Mathilde de Morny. When they kiss onstage in Moulin Rouge, there is a public uproar.
Colette leaves Willy after this to start working on her own. The success of the Claudine novels continues as they are adapted to stage productions. She writes The Vagabond based on her experiences with Mathilde.
At the end of her life, she becomes a famous writer and is recognised for her own writings.
The movie is a great biographical work on Colette. It is extremely well-executed on all counts. The story is investing and has good build-up.
If there is one fault with the story, it is the pace. The movie seems slow at parts, especially the middle seems slightly tedious.
Colette lived a very full life. It would have been much better if some of her other initiatives or other sides of her would have been included in the total run time of the movie. One might say that the events shown in the movie does not do justice to Colette’s persona.
It is also surprising that a figure like Colette, who is fundamentally French and had a French life, would be played by an English actress in an English movie. Although Keira Knightley does a brilliant job, a French cast would probably be a better choice for Colette’s story.
The photography is near-perfect in the movie. The segment which captures Colette’s country life is an absolute treat to the eyes. It recreates the time period immaculately and shows how much the city and its social circle shaped Colette’s life.
The characters are a very big reason to watch the film. Colette, played by Keira Knightley, and her first husband Willy, played by Dominic West, dominate most of the screen time.
It is one of Keira Knightley’s best performances. She plays Colette with perfect grace and the viewers will be in awe of the character, even if what she is doing is not perfectly moral. She breathes life into Colette’s story beautifully.
Dominic West’s portrayal of Willy is deliciously evil. Willy is manipulative, selfish and does not have an inch of the talent his wife has. Dominic West plays that side very well.
But the characters are not as black and white in the film. It is evident that there was a kind of love present between Colette and Willy even though they were unfaithful to each other and Willy was as oppressive a husband as any.
It cannot be denied that both benefitted from each other’s company. Although Willy used unbelievable ways to tap into Colette’s potential, it is because of him that she wrote books in the first place. He even encouraged Colette’s affairs which would later become the subjects of her books.
Colette shines mainly because of Keira Knightley’s earnest performance. She has charm and grace that not many can match. Colette, the writer, had a very colourful life. Her story is one that is very unique, especially considering the time in which she lived. This movie might be a revelation to all those who were unaware of Colette’s existence before.Originally Written By Epic Dope