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Coco Chanel (2008)

The life story of legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel.



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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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The life story of legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


She conquered with style.


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for sensuality, some thematic material, and historical smoking throughout | See all certifications »



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Release Date:

13 September 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Коко Шанель  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


When Boy and Coco are talking in the snow scene the snow does not melt when it lands in their hair or on their clothing. It would have to be extremely cold for that to happen. Also, the "snow" clumps in bubble like mounds. Real snow doesn't do that. See more »


Featured in The 61st Primetime Emmy Awards (2009) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

'I'll survive - I always have.'
26 September 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

COCO CHANEL is a well-made film whose few flaws unfortunately detract from the enjoyment of what seems to be a rather firm biography of one of the great inventive minds of the 20th century. Though all publicity (and nominations for awards) focused on Shirley MacLaine who appears only periodically and for very brief amounts of time, the starts of the cast are a number of European actors, some strong, others, only medium strong. And while the real contribution Coco Chanel made to the world was her instatement of the equality of women, changing the manner in which they dressed (read fashionable) from corseted and plumaged mannequins to comfortably mobile and real personas, the writers of this version her life (Carla Giulia Casalini and James Carrington) elected to stress the women whose ability to adjust to being repeatedly deserted/used by men and turn this movie into a romance decorated by fashion. And even that idea, valid though it may be, is fairly well buried by a musical score that is so loud as to cover the dialogue - and the dialogue is in some nearly indecipherable language, a mixture of accents and lack of projection on the part of the actors who play more to the sets and costumes than to the audience.

Christian Duguay directs, electing to begin his story with the unhappy childhood of Gabrielle/Coco and Adrienne Chanel, orphans laced in a Catholic sweatshop to make clothes. These episodes of childhood to old age are well transitioned by a black and white, old movie film transfer that does add to the feeling of history. The girls grow into young women, Coco (Barbora Bobulova) goes to live with Etienne Balsan (Sagamore Stévenin), falls in love, faces the fact that her time with Etienne will be transitory, moves on to Paris where she struggles to make a living making hats until Boy Capel (Olivier Sitruk) becomes her benefactor and lover. But Boy leaves for the Front as a soldier for the French army, leaving Coco in Deauville to set up shop with the aid of her sister Adrienne (Valentina Lodovin). The back and forth aspects of the story show Coco in the 1950s (as Shirley MacLaine) making her comeback with the aid of her faithful manager Marc Bouchier (Malcolm MacDowell) and the film ends in a standing ovation for the woman who not only survived but who changed the world of fashion and feminism forever.

There are many other characters in the film who play important parts but they all look alike and have such heavy accents that keeping track of them is almost impossible. No subtitles are supplied: subtitles would enhance this film immeasurably! Fabrizio Lucci does wonders with the cinematic adaptation of the times frames of the piece, but composer Andrea Guerra (in a slushy replay of Tchaikovsky symphony themes) buries the lines of the actors and nearly destroys what is in essence a very good film.

Grady Harp

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