ON THE BIG SCREEN
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.