Coco Before Chanel Reviews
Audrey Tautou suits the role so well, I could now not imagine her any other way. A good true story about a strong and inspirational woman who rose way above her circumstances.
I love the production design. The costumes were gorgeous and the cinematography was impeccable. But I think some of the pacing within the story lacked. I didn't even mind the gigantic jumps in time towards the end. But it didn't quite have a compelling nature as we saw her straddled between the two important men in her life (no rude pun intended there).
However, other than that it was stylish and gorgeous. I do wish that we could have seen more of the visual style influence. Chanel's style was very clean cut, as opposed to the natural Rococco-ish fashion before it and I would have like to see what inspired that when it was certainly not the rage.
The script and the story are less compelling than Tautou, and we never really see Chanel creating, forming, or even the slight burgeoning of the company that would bear her name. This seems like a let-down, and there was certainly room for this story within the film.
Overall, the film's star carries it and makes up for whatever flaws the script and director may present.
With COCO AVANT CHANEL, we are treated to a series of bland (but exquisitely shot) vignettes, ocassionally splashed with Coco's creativity and a few flashes that show just what a genius Chanel was. It's sad when the movie ends, because with that last, glorious scene, you feel like it was just starting to take flight.
Fontaine's screenplay is more thoughtful than those looking for a classier Sex and the City might have expected, toying with loss, identity, ambition and compromise.
Audrey Tautou's Chanel is a complex figure, emotionally broken at an early age, yet impish, daring, challenging and very much her own woman, even as her relationships leave her short-changed.
As in Ameile, the actress is bewitching, seductive yet fragile, full of resolve but achingly vulnerable. Fontaine acknowledges that while Coco's will to succeed might have stemmed from being abandoned by her dad, it is two key men - figure father and patron, Etienne Balsan (Benoit Poelvoorde), and the true love who shattered her already damaged heart, Boy Capel (Alessandro Nivola) - that give her the support and leverage to fulfil her ambition, first as a milliner, and later as the fashion designer par excellence we all know. Poelvoorde and Nivola work hard with underwritten roles, possibly necessarily so, their almost emblematic function keeping Chanel front and centre.
Last year we had "La Mome" (released in the States as "La Vie en Rose," which landed Marion Cotillard a much-deserved Oscar), and this year we have "Coco." Mainstream bourgeois cinema is alive and well in the country that invented it.
Audrey Tautou does a reasonably good job as the legendary fashion designer and luxury-products pioneer Coco Chanel, but she certainly won't be getting an Oscar. She exhibits three or four different emotions in this two-dimensional film, and she looks great doing it. I learned a few things about Ms. Chanel, such as that she was an uneducated orphan who had to struggle up from the gutter by any means necessary, including being mistress to a wealthy man (read: prostitute). I also didn't know that she brazenly broke social taboos by never marrying.
It was a pleasure watching this woman develop her revolutionary approach to women's clothing. The film probably overstates it, but there is good reason to claim that Coco Chanel invented the 20th century in terms of women's clothing and thereby gave the modern woman a whole new outlook on her own capabilities. It was wonderful to see a young Coco raging about the idiocy of nineteenth-century corsets, for example. "You'd prefer not to breathe?" she bravely asks women of the haute bourgeoisie.
Director Anne Fontaine does a good job revealing the way 19th-century upper-class women were dressed up to do nothing but display their husbands' wealth. Women could barely walk under the weight of the dresses, petticoats, hats, gloves, jewelry and parasols they wore in 1890s France. Ms. Chanel, without a single person to guide her it seems, dreamed up a whole new world where women could actually move when they went out in public. This is an inspiring story. But the screenplay, co-written by Ms. Fontaine, has about as much depth as there would be if the Lifetime Channel had commissioned it. Enjoyable, yes, but not a work of art.
As happened to "La Vie en Rose", "Coco avant Chanel" is nothing but a typical drama like any typical Hollywood crap would be (it´s obvious that a car accident will happen when they are seeing off/saying goodbye). I´m being very honest when I say that after Chanel´s lover dies and we see a lot of "snapshots" of her work/life with a melty song in the background, I turned off the sound.
I know te movie is focused on Chanel´s life before the sucess, but after a very long view of her way to succeed, the movie suddenly jumps to her atelier in Paris as if right after leaving Étienne she had done it. Even having Boy lent her money, how did she really manage in the beginning in Paris? Why was her sister working with her? And, the most important, how and when she definitely became Mademoiselle Coco Chanel?
I recall having seen another movie long ago on the early life of Coco Chanel called "Chanel Solitaire" with Timothy Dalton in the role of Arthur Capel which in this latest version is played by Alessandro Nivola. Despite both movies ending in about the same place, "Coco Before Chanel" is the superior version in its acting and photography, even if it is a tad slow at times. It does make a very good case for why fashion matters while connecting the personal and the political. In modernizing clothes, Coco Chanel(with a little help from World War I) changed what was fashionable from what pleased only men's eyes to what made women comfortable while still looking great, as the person herself constantly reinvented herself. Her most important idea was to get ride of the abominable corset. The practical clothing made it possible for women to enter the workplace with Coco leading the way into a new world.