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After marrying a successful Parisian writer known commonly as "Willy", Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette is transplanted from her childhood home in rural France to the intellectual and artistic splendor of Paris. Soon after, Willy convinces Colette to ghostwrite for him. She pens a semi-autobiographical novel about a witty and brazen country girl named Claudine, sparking a bestseller and a cultural sensation. After its success, Colette and Willy become the talk of Paris and their adventures inspire additional Claudine novels. Colette's fight over creative ownership defies gender roles and drives her to overcome societal constraints, revolutionizing literature, fashion and sexual expression.
Roger EbertFull Review Good ...the chemistry is palpable between Knightley and West, whether they are in love or estranged, and Knightley gives one of her best performances as a girl with spirit and talent who becomes a woman with ferocity and a voice.
Rolling StoneFull Review Very Good From its gorgeous costumes by Andrea Flesch and shimmering camerawork by Giles Nuttgens to a score of surpassing beauty by British composer Thomas Adès, Colette is a movie that dazzles the senses. But the source of its power to reach the mind and heart is something more intimate...
Rex ReedFull Review Excellent ...the best and most lavishly appointed, gorgeously photographed period movie in years. ... as mesmerizing and all-consuming as any book she ever published. Colette was a driving force on the road to Women's Liberation, and Colette captures every detour with elegance and passion.
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Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette is a young woman from the provinces whose life
changes after she
becomes engaged to a wealthy man of letters from Paris - Henri Gauthier-Villars,
known by the
single name "Willy" (Golden Globe Award nominee Dominic West of The Affair).
wedding, Colette is thrust into the metropolitan life of Paris in all its
fin-de-siecle glory. She tries to
adapt to her new bourgeois life but her confidence in the marriage is shattered
when she learns that
Willy is a philanderer. She confronts him and returns to the country in disgust,
but Willy woos her
back with promises that in the future their marriage will be more of a
Soon after their return to Paris, Willy presses Colette to write a novel
about her country schoolgirl
days. She pens a novel entitled Claudine at School, about a feisty, savvy young
who is essentially the first literary incarnation of the modern teenager.
Initially unimpressed with her
writing, Willy declares the book "too feminine" and stashes it away. It is only
after they fall on hard
times that he rediscovers the manuscripts and manages to get them published
under his own name.
Claudine is an immediate sensation and soon becomes the most popular book in all
of France. Willy
uses the success to create a line of ancillary merchandise: Claudine cigarettes,
Claudine soap, and Claudine dresses. He creates a brand. In turn, Colette and
become the first modern celebrity couple - the toast of the Belle Epoque. But at
the core of their
relationship, the dark secret of the book's true authorship smolders.
Upon meeting Georgie Raoul-Duval (Eleanor Tomlinson of Poldark), a wayward
Southern belle full
of flirtatious charm, Colette explores her attraction to women and embarks on a
with Georgie. Willy's own interest complicates matters when he begins to see
Colette's back. Justice is served when Colette writes the next Claudine novel,
penning a thinly disguised
account of the entire event, including Willy's betrayal, for the world to see -