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After marrying a successful Parisian writer known commonly as "Willy" (Dominic West), Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Keira Knightley) 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 and gender roles drives her to overcome societal constraints, revolutionizing literature, fashion and sexual expression. Directed by Wash Westmoreland and written by Wash Westmoreland, Richard Glatzer, Rebecca Lenkiewicz.Written by
The location shoot in Budapest was so warm at times, Dominic West wore a water vest inside his heavy costume that functioned like a car radiator, circulating cool water around his upper body. The contraption was recommended to him by John C. Reilly who used such an apparatus while playing the rotund Oliver Hardy in the biopic Stan & Ollie (2018). See more »
Colette, while naming trees to Willy, calls one a "Douglas fir". Douglas fir is native to North America and would not have been found in the countryside outside of Paris. See more »
There is a dedication to Richard Glatzer, who co-wrote the film's screenplay with Wash Westmoreland, shortly before the closing credits: "For Richard". See more »
This is a dreary film, devoid of the originality of the artist it purports to celebrate. The production design reeks of research: so many shots derive from familiar canvases of Renoir, Seurat, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and their contemporaries that the cinematographer filming scenes in front of their pictures at the National Gallery. The leaden screenplay plods along with attempts at bon mots dying in the mouths of those two affable duffers Kiera Knightley and Dominic West, but what charm they have can't save them in this. Wan, winsome Knightley in particular is totally miscast as a person whose energy bursts through her work, someone whose charisma is evident in every photograph taken of her. Denise Gough, Fiona Shaw and some of the other performers offer the best support they can, but they haven't got a hope.
I kept thinking of how perfect Ms Knightley was in Joe Wright's imaginative take on ANNA KARENINA. I felt really quite sorry for her, and everybody else, at the end of this. It's not as if it was really bad. If it were, it might have been fun. Instead, we get deadly mediocrity.
One star for effort, and another for pity's sake.
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