Coco Before Chanel (2009)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Though it doesn't quite capture the complexity of its subject's life, Coco Avant Chanel remains a fascinating, appropriately lovely tribute.

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Movie Info

Amélie and The Da Vinci Code star Audrey Tautou stars as legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel in this biopic penned by director Anne Fontaine and screenwriter Camille Fontaine in collaboration with Christopher Hampton. Based on the Chanel biography L'Irrégulière (The Nonconformist) by author Edmonde Charles-Roux, Coco Avant Chanel features dresses from the Chanel collection. House of Chanel art director Karl Lagerfeld also steps onboard to supervise the creation of accessories and costumes. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Rating:
PG-13 (for sexual content and smoking)
Genre:
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

Cast

Audrey Tautou
as Gabrielle Chanel
Benoît Poelvoorde
as Etienne Balsan
Alessandro Nivola
as Boy Capel
Marie Gillain
as Adrienne
Emmanuelle Devos
as Émilienne
Regis Royer
as Alec, le jockey
Etienne Bartholomeus
as Maître d'hôtel Balsan
Yan Duffas
as Maurice de Nexon
Fabien Behar
as Patron boutique
Roch Leibovici
as Jean, le palefrenier
Jean-Yves Chatelais
as Directeur beuglant
Pierre Diot
as Acteur théâtre
Vincent Nemeth
as Gros homme théâtre
Marie Parouty
as Sophie, amie d'Emilienne
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Critic Reviews for Coco Before Chanel

All Critics (129) | Top Critics (38)

No excerpt available.

November 16, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

A movie that is tres chic even if it sometimes resembles those corsets Coco banished, a little stiff and confining.

November 18, 2009
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

The thread connecting the ambitious girl to the acclaimed woman is enough to make us wish for a sequel titled Chanel No. 2.

November 5, 2009
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

The film is unfailingly funny.

Full Review… | October 23, 2009
Detroit News
Top Critic

Coco Before Chanel only starts to get interesting when she asserts her creative and financial freedom -- and that's right when the movie's about to end.

October 23, 2009
Associated Press
Top Critic

We are used to seeing Tautou play the sweetheart. Here, she's anything but. Constantly smoking, dour, unsmiling, critical, she plays a character difficult to warm to but fascinating to watch.

Full Review… | October 23, 2009
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Coco Before Chanel

½

The plot is too conventional and feels somehow incomplete when it comes to showing what was exactly so special about the character that propelled her into recognition and fame, but this is a decent film with some strong performances and a gracious score.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

½

Another biopic of the fashion template Coco Chanel, this French language film romanticizes the life of a woman who favored simplicity in her style, leading to a feminization of rebellion in the fashion world, and in women's every day life.Still, though Chanel was a prominent figure, she is misrepresented time and time again as a romantic, a career woman, and a realist, when in reality she prostituted herself, and worked as a Nazi sympathizer and traitor towards the French. This inaccuracy, though blaring, didn't annoy me as much as the way this film is plotted, focusing on Chanel's early life, before fame came to her. Chanel is never seen past the thirties, transfixed into an immortal portrait of a rags to riches story. Chanel's life broadened so much more in the coming years, and it would have been nice to watch Tatou, such a resilient figure in French cinema, overcome the issues of Chanel's youth and rise to the occasion as a sort of matriarch to the female French population. We see a fragment of this at the end, but never the true extent of her success, the transformation she goes through to be a powerhouse, no longer the fragile little orphan of her prior youth. Tatou, such a great beauty and gamine presence, is so amazingly strong and independent minded in her take on the giant, but I wish there wasn't so much emphasis on Boy Capel throughout, and more on her actual life. This all felt like an ill fated love affair, when Chanel actually had many lovers in her lifetime, including Igor Stravinsky. It was beautifully shot and acted, I just believe the execution had something to be desired.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Beautifully shot and a good introduction into the early years of Coco Chanel. I have to admit I knew nothing at all about her. 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.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

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