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Formally familiar but a brilliant match for its lead, Colette is a thoroughly entertaining biopic and an overdue testament to Keira Knightley's underrated gifts. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

After moving to Paris, author Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette agrees to ghostwrite a semi-autobiographical novel for her husband. Its success soon inspires her to fight for creative ownership and overcome the societal constraints of the early 20th century.

Cast & Crew

Eleanor Tomlinson
Georgie Raoul-Duval
Richard Glatzer
Screenwriter
Svetlana Metkina
Executive Producer
Norman Merry
Executive Producer
Mary Burke
Executive Producer
Giles Nuttgens
Cinematographer
Thomas Adès
Original Music
Michael Carlin
Production Design
Katja Soltes
Supervising Art Direction
Renátó Cseh
Art Director
Hedvig Kiraly
Art Director
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News & Interviews for Colette

Critic Reviews for Colette

All Critics (217) | Top Critics (64) | Fresh (189) | Rotten (28)

Audience Reviews for Colette

  • Mar 14, 2019
    Keira Knightley stars is the biopic Colette, a mediocre period drama about one of France's most influential female writers. The film follows Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, a young country girl, as she marries popular writer Henry "Willy" Gauthier-Villars, who introduces her to the libertine lifestyle and convinces her to ghostwrite for him, but eventually she grows tired of being in the shadows and attempt to chart her own path as a stage performer. Knightley, as usual, gives a strong performance, as does Dominic West. However, the script isn't very good, particularly at developing the characters. In fact, the film seems more interested in pushing a political message about female empowerment and sexual liberation than exploring Colette's relationship with Willy or her artistic passion (which seemingly comes out of nowhere). More agenda driven than character driven, Colette fails to get at the heart of who Colette really was or her accomplishments.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 17, 2019
    For a typically handsome period drama about a woman trying to be heard in ungrateful times, it is a pleasure to see how she evolves from reluctant to accept a resigned existence in the shadow of a man to later realizing that she can decide her own life and break free.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 10, 2018
    "I can read you like the top line of an optometrist's chart." Colette is a mixed bag of being both your standard period drama (gorgeous costumes and production design) while telling a story that feels all the more timely in regards to today's conversations (bisexuality, transgender individuals, etc.). If nothing else, Colette shows this conversation about gender and gender fluidity has been ongoing for much longer than some might care to admit. What is unfortunate about Wash "Still Alice" Westmoreland's adaptation of these true events is a lack of any real narrative drive which, oddly enough, is Colette's husband's first critique of her first "Claudine" novel. That said, it's not hard to appreciate that Westmoreland allows his stars in Keira Knightley and Dominic West (both solid to great in certain moments) to define their relationship as one of genuine love and affection before sending it off the rails as the film details some rather weird and ultimately complex interpersonal dynamics between the two of them. It's all rather fascinating in terms of being the topic of a dinner conversation after the fact, but in the moment it never engages to the degree one is truly emotionally invested in any aspect of Colette's life as presented. Westmoreland, Richard Glatzer, and Rebecca Lenkiewicz's screenplay does feature some rather excellent dialogue and the glaze of an interesting commentary on the societal expectations of men at the turn of the century and the glaring differences between what was thought of as a gentleman and what is actually a gentle man permeates throughout, but is never fully fleshed out. In an early scene Knightley's Colette tells her mother (played by Mrs. Dursley herself, Fiona Shaw) that marriage and her life up until that point has been "nothing like she imagined" which comes to be rather ironic given Colette went on to turn every expectation she likely had for her life on its head. It's only too bad the film as a whole couldn't accomplish this as well. Turn of the century Paris was crazy though, y'all.
    Philip P Super Reviewer
  • Nov 18, 2018
    A gracious account of the early stages of Colette's life, this show has the ingredients of a first class item. Visually it is fabulous - the beauty of Knightley, the production of historical detail, the balanced photographic tableaux, the vivid interiors, and the long takes that draw the most from the actors, scenes and performances. The screenplay advances smoothly, with direction and editing that seem completely assured. Knightley finds and maintains the core of the character, who develops from ingénue, to young wife, to frustrated intellectual and artist, to finding sexual and professional adventure, and then to reaching a powerful maturity. The supporting roles are understated, without surrendering the film to being just a star vehicle; throughout, they are directed and performed to an equally fine standard as Colette. Comparing say A Quiet Passion, this film does not reach as deep emotionally, nor does it speak and bring to life much of Colette's actual writing. It takes a more external focus and is less powerful for that. Not a fault, but rather a decision that enables the Colette film to appeal to a wide audience, to give very fine entertainment, while delivering the key historical facts and illustrating eloquently the obstacles faced by a brilliant woman writer.
    . . Super Reviewer

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