ON THE BIG SCREEN

Style Magazine - - Entertainment -

If you like a bit of scan­dal, a dash of a love story, some qual­ity cos­tum­ing and a true tale of one woman over­com­ing the odds, then this will be right up your al­ley.

Co­lette is the story of a sim­ple coun­try girl, Si­donie-gabrielle Co­lette (Keira Knight­ley), who lives with her par­ents in ru­ral France.

She is courted by a man from Paris, a pub­lisher known as ‘Willy’ who, 14 years her se­nior, whisks the young farm girl away to the sparkling, op­u­lent world of The City of Lights in the late 1890s.

Co­lette quickly must adapt to a life of wine, women, gam­bling and af­fairs as Willy, one of the city’s most fa­mous play­boys, strug­gles to ad­just to mar­ried life.

Willy runs an ed­i­to­rial fac­tory, where ghost-writ­ers pro­duce fic­tion un­der his name.

Af­ter hear­ing of Co­lette’s sto­ries of her up­bring­ing, he con­vinces her to put pen to pa­per and what re­sults is a best-seller as the char­ac­ter of Clau­dine, a 15-year-old coun­try girl, be­comes a na­tional sen­sa­tion.

Willy and Co­lette be­come what could pos­si­bly be con­sid­ered the first celebrity cou­ple, fu­el­ing fur­ther nov­els. But with the money and the fame comes dead­lines, and Co­lette is forced to face life with a man who con­stantly finds him­self broke and un­der pres­sure from cred­i­tors.

Only more book sales will help. Willy locks up his wife at times, only let­ting her out of the room once he is happy with her work.

Can Co­lette find her voice and tell the world that she is in fact the au­thor of th­ese best-sell­ers?

Co­lette is a qual­ity film from the very first scene, and the pro­duc­ers clearly wanted at­ten­tion to de­tail to be top of the list.

Paris in the late 1800s must have been an amaz­ing place to be, and through­out the story the scenery shows off the city in all its his­toric glory.

Do­minic West is ex­cel­lent as Willy, a man who you just don’t know how he is go­ing to re­act from scene to scene, and brings a sense of un­pre­dictabil­ity to the role.

The star of Co­lette, though, is Keira Knight­ley who, dare I say it, is in ca­reer-best form here.

Ev­ery emo­tion is on dis­play here in­clud­ing joy, anger, cu­rios­ity and hope­less­ness.

If you still think of her as the girl who sailed with Cap­tain Jack Spar­row, then you’re in for a shock.

Co­lette is Knight­ley at the top of her game, show­ing a ma­tu­rity and ded­i­ca­tion to a role that of­fers her a real chal­lenge.

It also shows how far we’ve come in ac­cep­tance of peo­ple of all sex­ual per­sua­sions and ex­am­ines the pos­si­ble birth of pop cul­ture as Co­lette be­comes the talk of Paris, with prod­ucts bear­ing her cre­ations’ name the hot prop­erty of the day.

This is an en­joy­able, fas­ci­nat­ing two hours in the cin­ema where, without re­al­is­ing it, you’ll find your­self com­pletely in­vested in th­ese char­ac­ters.

If this is what Knight­ley is ca­pa­ble of now, then she has an even big­ger fu­ture ahead of her.

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