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Colette
柯 莱 特

Format(s) Available
DIGITAL
Opening Date
07 Feb 2019
Rating
R21 Some Homosexual Content and Sexual Scenes
Runtime
112 mins
Language
English - subtitles to be advised
Genre
Biography, Drama
Director
Wash Westmoreland
Cast
Keira Knightley, Eleanor Tomlinson, Fiona Shaw
Synopsis
Unconventional country girl Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Academy Award nominee Keira Knightley) has married a charismatic egomaniacal man of letters, fourteen years her senior, known by the single name, ‘Willy’ (Dominic West).  He introduces Colette to the hedonistic world of artistic Paris where her creative appetite is sparked, and permits her to write her novels, only if she does so in his name. The phenomenal success of her ‘Claudine’ series makes Willy a famous writer, and Colette and Willy the first modern celebrity couple. Although they are the toast of the town, the lack of recognition for her work begins to gnaw on Colette and their marriage starts to internally combust. Set at the dawn of the modern age, COLETTE is the story of a woman who has been denied her voice by an overbearing man, and how she goes to extraordinary lengths to find it.
Reviews
By Say Peng  09 Feb 2019
A tale of female empowerment from the director of 'Still Alice', Colette is a timely and accessible biopic of a French writer who labours in her husband's shadow and finally succeeds in finding her own voice.
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Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette is a bisexual French writer who was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948. She is most famously known for her novella Gigi and also for her first four semi-autobiographical novels known collectively as the Claudine series, titled after the main character Claudine. In director Wash Westmoreland’s follow-up to ‘Still Alice’, the biopic depicts Colette’s journey of empowerment. Keira Knightley, the reliable go-to period drama actress, stars as Colette and gives a performance that is expectedly competent.

A born-and-bred rural girl, Colette marries Henry Gauthier-Villars (Dominic West), also known as Willy, an older and well-off libertine author and publisher who produces books under his name but ghost-written by other people. Because of the debts he owes to his ghost-writers, they stopped working for him, and Willy finds himself in need of another talent.

Enter Colette, whom Willy persuades to give writing a shot. Hesitant at first, Colette slowly discovers the natural facility she has for writing, completing her first book, Claudine at School, in roughly a week. But it was not well received by Willy, who finds it too feminine. But when it was published, it was a hit with French women. The novel’s overnight success is both a blessing and a curse. It enabled the couple to live a good life but made Willy more insecure and frantic to reproduce the novel’s success to the extent that he locked Colette in her room until she has written enough pages.

Colette suffers all this silently - until she meets and falls in love with Missy (Denise Gough), an androgynous lesbian noblewoman who dresses in man’s clothing. Being with Missy empowers Colette, who eventually breaks away from Willy and finally publishes under her own name.

This tale of female empowerment, which Westmoreland has been developing for years, arrives, needless to say, at a prime opportune moment. And Westmoreland made the right decision to keep the tone of the film, from the cinematography to the production design, light and contemporary and, therefore, making it accessible. After all, this is a film that deserves to find a wide audience.
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