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

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  6 November 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 29,927 users   Metascore: 65/100
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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
See  »

Did You Know?


Coco Chanel lived at the Hotel Ritz, in Paris, from 1934 to 1971. The Coco Chanel Suite was named after her in her memory. See more »


When Boy allows Coco Chanel to drive the car, and the car stops, she steps out wearing a white scarf that she wasn't wearing when she got into the car. 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 »


Referenced in Woody Before Allen (2011) See more »


Performed by Patrick Laviosa
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Beautifully made
3 May 2009 | by (Belgium) – See all my reviews

It may be a subject that will not automatically appeal to many. However, this movie is certainly worth watching.

Audrey Tautou, complete with all the mannerisms and dark looks of Coco Chanel, plays a magnificent role. We start of at the miserable beginning of Gabrielle Chanel's life, in an orphanage. It quickly becomes clear that this is not the story about some high-society woman who got bored and decided to make clothes in a style that was unheard of at that time, even for people who don't know anything about the life of Coco Chanel. We see her, slowly but surely, clawing her way up in society, using her charm and wit, but most of all: her outspokenness, always telling what she thinks.

Cinematographically, this film is outstanding too. Throughout the film, certain elements of clothing (black and white patterns, stripes, men's shirts) are shown through an unclear lens, to point out that even the most early views of Coco on fashion were incorporated in her style later.

This film is not just a story about Coco's success, it's also about her struggle to fit in in a society that differed so much from her own opinions, about her losses and heartaches. All in all, we get a complete picture of the icon that is still loved and admired today.

94 of 102 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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