French fan­cies

Keira Knight­ley brings Co­lette, France’s fa­mously bi­sex­ual ac­tress, fem­i­nist and writer of Gigi, to life

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Keira Knight­ley, Do­minic West, Denise Gough, Eleanor Tom­lin­son, Dickie Beau

An­other lit­er­ary biopic? I know, I know, but trail­blaz­ing French au­thor Co­lette de­serves film treat­ment more than most — the sur­prise is that it’s taken this long to do it. Bi­sex­ual and fiercely fem­i­nist, she stood out even amid the cul­tural sub­ver­sions of fin- de- siè­cle Paris. The story of her ca­reer, emerg­ing from shad­owy begin­nings as a ghost writer for her cel­e­brated hus­band, Willy, is a great yarn in it­self, and that’s be­fore we get to her side­line as a saucy mu­sic- hall per­former. From a script writ­ten with his late hus­band Richard Glatzer, Bri­tish di­rec­tor Wash West­more­land ( Still Alice) of­fers a lively, lushly styled breeze through her early years, over­com­ing a slightly stiff start to chan­nel some of Co­lette’s own play­fully queer sen­si­bil­ity. Knight­ley’s on fine form, too, ev­i­dently rel­ish­ing the op­por­tu­nity to play an un­but­toned char­ac­ter for a change, with West a per­fect foil as her twin­kling bas­tard of a hus­band. 11 Jan­uary

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