Coco Before Chanel

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Audrey Tautou (The Da Vinci Code, Amélie) shines in this intriguing portrait of the early life of Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, the orphan who would build a fashion empire and be known universally by her nickname, Coco. She journeys from a mundane seamstress job to boisterous cabarets to the opulent French countryside, possessing little more than her unwavering determination, unique style and visionary talent. Also starring Benoît Poelvoorde (In His Hands) and Alessandro Nivo… More >>

Coco Before Chanel

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1 Comment
  1. A wonderful film, filled with rich, nuanced, adult sized performances. Although “Coco Avant Chanel” is about how Gabrielle Bonheur Chanels became “Coco” Chanel, it is also about the men in her life. Here the film shines, unexpectedly, as both the male leads are given well crafted flesh and blood characters by the writers, and above all by the actors Benoît Poelvoorde and Alessandro Nivola, and by the director.

    Audrey Tautou is stunning. She combines in her embodiment of Coco a flinty, no nonsense resolve, and not a little ambivalence about men, with a willful charm and talent for displaying the subtle conflicts felt by Coco as she is torn between goals and love, comfort and freedom, poverty and success. If there was anyone born to play Coco it’s Audrey Tautou.

    The film is directed by a female director, Anne Fontaine, which is cause for comment only because, in this French production, the hand of a female director does not produce the gratuitous, pandering pop-feminism and in your face attitudinizing that would be the norm in any American production. All the more remarkable in a film story about the rise of a strong willed woman in a man’s world to become one of the greatest names in fashion and commerce of her era, creating a brand that lives on with the highest reputation.

    Instead, the director not only recreates a wonderfully detailed vista of French life and aristocratic pursuits but gives us three complex, willful and fully human figures, all presented in a beautiful production with a great story. French films frequently excel in this way, and also tend to come to meandering conclusions once the human insights have been made. This film suffers from this syndrome as well. But the time is well spent. Highly recommended.
    Rating: 5 / 5

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