COLETTE Review — Kiera Knightly’s Timely Take On the Gifted French Author

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Colette Review —17 years in the making, there’s no time like the present to tell this scintillating tale

Colette ReviewThe real life Colette, Ernest Hemingway’s third wife Martha Gelhorn and the Glenn Close character in The Wife are three literary women who have much in common. All were extraordinarily talented writers who had to fight their way out from under their larger than life husbands.

But their stories are very different. The heroine of Colette was a popular French novelist, nominated for a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. She had quite the extraordinary body of work. If you’ve ever seen the classic 1958 film Gigi, starring Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier, Eva Gabor and Charles Jourdan, and with the music of Lerner and Loewe, you’ve experienced the glory of the author Colette, as the film was adapted from her novella.

But Colette, who’s full name was Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, went on an extraordinary journey of self realization before she became a celebrated writer, and that’s the focus of this lovely period biopic.

Keira Knightley owns the title role of the simple farm girl who falls in love with one a well-known, enigmatic writer named Henry Gauthier-Villars (an appropriately charismatic Dominic West), one of Paris’s most well-known libertines, writing under the pen name “Willy.”

Willy often hired ghostwriters to help with his books, articles and reviews, and when it became apparent that his young wife Colette had literary talent, they began collaborating on a racy series of novels about a school girl called “Claudine,” all under Willy’s name, and from there the conflict arises.

The film lushly and languidly (perhaps a bit too languidly) unfolds with gorgeous cinematography, set design and an intriguing score. Director Wash Westmoreland (Quinceañera, Still Alice) proves once again that he has an uncanny ability to tell an authentic and heart wrenching story of a woman struggling to find her identity.

Colette the writer lead a life that was sensual, scandalous and surprising. Colette the movie captures her essence with extraordinary elan.

Rated R

1 Hour 51 Minutes

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Colette Review — 17 years in the making, there’s no time like the present to tell this scintillating tale


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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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