Coco Before Chanel (2009)
"Coco avant Chanel" (original title)

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  6 November 2009 (USA)
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The story of Coco Chanel's rise from obscure beginnings to the heights of the fashion world.


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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Étienne Balsan
Régis Royer ...
Etienne Bartholomeus ...
Maître d'hôtel Balsan (as Étienne Bartholomeus)
Yan Duffas ...
Fabien Béhar ...
Patron boutique (as Fabien Behar)
Roch Leibovici ...
Jean, le palefrenier
Jean-Yves Chatelais ...
Pierre Diot ...
Vincent Nemeth ...
Bruno Abraham-Kremer ...
Lisa Cohen ...


Several years after leaving the orphanage to which her father never returned for her, Gabrielle Chanel finds herself working in a provincial bar. She's both a seamstress for the performers and a singer, earning the nickname Coco from the song she sings nightly with her sister. A liaison with Baron Balsan gives her an entrée into French society and a chance to develop her gift for designing increasingly popular hats. When she falls in love with English businessman Arthur Capel further opportunities open up, though life becomes ever more complicated. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Before she was France's famous mademoiselle...


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content and smoking | See all certifications »






Release Date:

6 November 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Coco Before Chanel  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


€19,430,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£423,268 (UK) (31 July 2009)


$6,109,075 (USA) (5 February 2010)

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (cable)

Sound Mix:



| (final shot)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Visa d'exploitation (en France) n° 121049 See more »


Coco Chanel wears a heavy overcoat on the beach in Deauville, looking out on the English Chanel. When "Boy" joins her moments later, the overcoat is gone. See more »


[first lines]
[subtitled version of French dialog]
Nun: Girls who have visitors, follow me.
Gabrielle Chanel, 10 ans: Come on. Come on, let's go.
Adrienne Chanel, 10 ans: I don't want to.
See more »


Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Episode dated 26 September 2009 (2009) See more »


Caroline Caroline
Performed by Marthe Drouin and Patrick Laviosa
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Does what it says...
23 July 2009 | by (Scotland, United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Coco avant Chanel focuses, quite literally, on the roots of Coco before the whole Chanel business.

I noted the movie seemed to frustrate those with no grasp of the French language at all. Many seemed to go in unaware that the movie was set before her 'Chanel' days and I couldn't help but feel a sense of disappointment at the end from others; via looking at their faces, overhearing conversations and talking with friends. It's interesting, but it does plod on very slowly.

We are treated to a very rude, harsh character in Coco. Full credit goes to Audrey Tautou for her performance though. She really does fit into this movie's feel and tone very well. Her cheeky performance is definitely a highlight.

I don't know what to make of Alessandro Nivola as 'Boy'. The character was and looked rather sleazy. I'm not sure if that was meant or if that was Alessandro. Other than that, mentions go to Benoît Poelvoorde for his solid performance and Emmanuelle Devos as the sexy and self-assured Emilienne d'Alençon.

Other than that, it's a solid biopic. 7/10

22 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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