6.7/10
35,465
69 user 164 critic

Coco Before Chanel (2009)

Coco avant Chanel (original title)
PG-13 | | Biography, Drama | 6 November 2009 (USA)
Trailer
2:04 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
The story of Coco Chanel's rise from obscure beginnings to the heights of the fashion world.

Director:

Anne Fontaine
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Coco Chanel (TV Movie 2008)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The life story of legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel.

Director: Christian Duguay
Stars: Daria Baykalova, Barbora Bobulova, Brigitte Boucher
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Paris 1913. Coco Chanel is infatuated with the rich and handsome Boy Capel, but she is also compelled by her work. Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring is about to be performed. The ... See full summary »

Director: Jan Kounen
Stars: Anna Mouglalis, Mads Mikkelsen, Elena Morozova
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A French woman mourning over the death of her husband three years prior is courted by a Swedish co-worker.

Directors: David Foenkinos, Stéphane Foenkinos
Stars: Audrey Tautou, François Damiens, Bruno Todeschini
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When Camille (Audrey Tautou) falls ill, she is forced to live with Philibert and Franck (Guillaume Canet). A moving trio story.

Director: Claude Berri
Stars: Audrey Tautou, Guillaume Canet, Laurent Stocker
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A hairdresser forwards a passionate love letter to her mother.

Director: Pierre Salvadori
Stars: Audrey Tautou, Nathalie Baye, Sami Bouajila
Priceless (2006)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Through a set of wacky circumstances, a young gold digger mistakenly woos a mild-mannered bartender thinking he's a wealthy suitor.

Director: Pierre Salvadori
Stars: Audrey Tautou, Gad Elmaleh, Marie-Christine Adam
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A look at the life of French designer Yves Saint Laurent from the beginning of his career in 1958 when he met his lover and business partner, Pierre Berge.

Director: Jalil Lespert
Stars: Pierre Niney, Guillaume Gallienne, Charlotte Le Bon
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Tells the story of a young woman's relentless search for her fiancé, who has disappeared from the trenches of the Somme during World War One.

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Stars: Audrey Tautou, Gaspard Ulliel, Jodie Foster
Thérèse (2012)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

An unhappily married woman struggles to break free from social pressures.

Director: Claude Miller
Stars: Audrey Tautou, Gilles Lellouche, Anaïs Demoustier
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Audrey Tautou ... Gabrielle Chanel
Benoît Poelvoorde ... Étienne Balsan
Alessandro Nivola ... Boy Capel
Marie Gillain ... Adrienne Chanel
Emmanuelle Devos ... Emilienne d'Alençon
Régis Royer Régis Royer ... Alec, le jockey
Etienne Bartholomeus Etienne Bartholomeus ... Maître d'hôtel Balsan (as Étienne Bartholomeus)
Yan Duffas Yan Duffas ... Maurice de Nexon
Fabien Béhar Fabien Béhar ... Patron boutique (as Fabien Behar)
Roch Leibovici Roch Leibovici ... Jean, le palefrenier
Jean-Yves Chatelais Jean-Yves Chatelais ... Directeur beuglant
Pierre Diot Pierre Diot ... Acteur théâtre
Vincent Nemeth Vincent Nemeth ... Gros homme théâtre
Bruno Abraham-Kremer Bruno Abraham-Kremer ... Tailleur Deauville
Lisa Cohen Lisa Cohen ... Gabrielle Chanel, 10 ans
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

Before she was France's famous mademoiselle...

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

France | Belgium

Language:

French | English

Release Date:

6 November 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Coco Before Chanel See more »

Filming Locations:

Cabourg, Calvados, France See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

€19,430,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$177,399, 27 September 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$6,109,075, 7 February 2010
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cable)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color | Black and White (final shot)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in Woody Before Allen (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

La vie parisienne
Written by Jacques Offenbach
Performed by Patrick Laviosa
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
A Nutshell Review: Coco Before Chanel
23 August 2009 | by DICK STEELSee all my reviews

Directed by Anne Fontaine and based upon the book by Edmonde Charles-Roux, Coco Before Chanel is a biographical tale of Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel set a timeline which is just that, before she founded the fashion empire. So for those who are more intrigued about the fashion world and the impact Chanel has on it, then this is not the movie you're looking for, as it firmly dwells on Coco as a person, and her romantic dalliances with two men who played significant roles in her life, be it in support of her daily sustenance, or inspiring and providing fuel for her desire to make a name for herself.

The film dedicated plenty of time in Coco's awakening toward the French high life of the time, since she became a voluntary kept mistress of rich playboy Etienne Balsan (Benoit Poelvoorde), who in a way had rescued her from poverty, and whose riches afforded to her provided that access to the slacker lifestyles of the rich and famous. The audience too get reminded time and again of how stifling a woman's place in high society was at the turn of the century, made worse by the restrictive clothing like corsets, frills, and lace from the neck right down to sweeping the floors. Coco's disdain and penchant for freedom led to bold designs that do not conform, starting from her hats which provided her some attention and notoriety even.

As Coco Chanel, Audrey Tautou epitomizes that level of elegance, vulnerability and rebellious streak to do things differently. Her petiteness and somewhat boyish cut figure probably suited the role really well as the initial designs by Coco were those inspired by menswear, though you only get glimpses of her design genius from short montages scattered throughout, and from some scenes which show her working at a tailor shop, but other than that you will gain very little from this bio-pic other than the messy love life that she got herself into, first with benefactor of sorts Etienne, who treated her nothing more than an object to bed in exchange for lodging, then Alessandro Nivola's Arthur "Boy"Capel, a businessman with whom she falls head over heels with. The romances do make you wonder about how careless the treatment of emotions are, where love and issues of marriage are quite trivially handled.

While Anne Fontaine nailed down the look of the film, the feel somehow was found to be lacking, as apart from the romantic angle, nothing else really rang through until the last act, which was a very hastily down finale to show the tremendous progress Coco had undergone once she had closed her heart, where she had broken through a society and introduced radical changes to an industry, from hats to influencing a lot more in the fashion world. How she did exactly that, is best left to another film because this one had little else other than repeated shots of scissors going through fabric.

Without a doubt the clothes here are the star of the show, from the fashions of societal norms in both directions of the rich-poor spectrum, to Coco Chanel's designs for her own with her menswear inspired pieces, and unfortunately, the glamour-chic pieces only making it through in a parting shot at the finale, since the founding of the business empire was grossly passed over deliberately. The opulently designed clothes of that era stand in stark contrast to the Chanel pieces, which celebrates sheer beauty and elegance in their simplicity, and probably from there, stamping its mark on the fashion industry.

Don't approach this film with an expectation that you would learn something of the beginnings of Chanel the brand and how it became the icon of today. In fact, it's more about the love and early life of its founder, who without her accomplishment and the name backing her, could have turned out to be nothing more than a generic, average, and perhaps even strange romantic picture. And of course, this is also for Audrey Tautou fans who'll lap up her look as Coco Chanel in those chic garbs.


35 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 69 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed