Colette Review


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Good Morning Lovelies, 

For me, Keira Knightley is an actress we have grown up with, watching as she too grows up. From Bend It Like Beckham to Atonement, her filmography is a diverse mix of drama and light-hearted features that all become enrapt with when watching. In her latest screen outing in Colette (out today on DVD and digitally), she plays Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, a newly married woman to egomaniac Willy (Dominic West), who begins to discover herself under the bright lights of Paris life.

Amazed by the world around her, Colette begins to write novels, which Willy forces her to publish under his name, leaving her unsatisfied with life. One that becomes high up, after the success of her Claudine series makes him famous amongst the elite.

As well as her marriage, which is filled with cheating and Colette’s search to understand her sexuality. Forming bonds with the women around her, she seeks comfort in Missy (Denise Gough), causing Willy to resort to revenge on their relationship. But she is not one to let him win.

Based on the true story of the female legend, the film begins in a way many classic period dramas’ do. Colette stands waving off Willy at the door, looking at him longingly, already seeming to wait for his return. Until two minutes later when the scene flips into a modern take on the genre, with the pair running off to have sex in a barn. Old in theme but the camera shots and dialogue are all fresh. A theme that runs throughout the film.

Colette is presented as a rebel. She knows what she wants, and she knows how to get it. A refreshing take on a figure many won’t know of but will take inspiration from. Wrapped up in the world of Parisian beauty and grace, her actions are far from the norm and she makes it work. Although she does what society asks of her - such as marrying a man she doesn’t truly understand - she breaks away from it to show audiences it is okay to be yourself.

In normal on-screen features of this type, Colette would have been the one enjoying the Parisian life while her husband leads the way in making changes and decisions. But this film highlights the importance of showing a powerful woman leading the way. Something that is down to not only the story but the casting.

Knightley and West are a great pair and their on-screen actions play off well with each other. From tender moments at the start to the revenge ridden ending, they know how to make their characters marriage appear real and authentic. Even when it is breaking down. They get the script and they make every word and line of it pop out.

Director Wash Westmoreland has made a feature that feels light, even when touching on heavy subjects. He presents a romance, a drama, a break-up, a discovery and a rapture in many ways to audiences in a feature that refreshes an old state genre. Period pieces are finally moving in a new direction and this is one of the best of the bunch.

4 Stars

Joey X 

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