Starring: Keira Knightley, Dominic West, Sloan Thompson, Arabella Weir, Dickie Beau, Robert Pugh
Director: Wash Westmoreland
Release date: 9th January 2019
It is 1892 in Saint Sauveur, France, and a young girl named Gabrielle (Keira Knightley) lives with her parents in a small farm house. She is betrothed to a gentleman named Henry Gauthier-Villars, known by most by the name Willy (Dominic West). The pair soon marry and move to Paris where life is a succession of high society parties. One day, Willy decides that he will write a novel and not long after he is caught with another woman. Gabrielle goes home to her parents but it’s not long before Willy has convinced her to give him another chance. They return to Paris and soon Willy asks Gaby to write a novel for him. She is not keen on doing it but secretly writes a story about her adolescent years. Willy takes it, gets it published and takes all the credit for a novel which has taken France by storm. It’s now 1900 and times are changing.. can Willy change his ways and become the husband that Gabrielle needs and wants?
‘Colette’ is based on the true life story of Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, a French feminist writer, who at the age of 20 fell in love with a man 14 years her senior and not long after, married him. For over 10 years she wrote novels for him, with each being released under his name alone. This was a huge bone of contention between the couple and many blazing rows were had because of it. In the end, Gabrielle wanted her name on her novels but had to fight tooth and nail in a time where women were still seen as inferior.
An enjoyable period piece, Keira Knightley is perfect for the title role of Colette and the same goes for Dominic West as Willy. Not sure quite why but it feels like Dominic seems to play a lot of baddies these days. Maybe not such a bad thing in some cases, but he does do it with bravado.
Possibly not a movie for the vaguely uptight members of society, ‘Colette’ is the true story of a woman who lead an exceptionally chequered life, partnering with both men and women at various stages in her life, while trying to be a role model for other women of the time. She refused to be oppressed and fought for her name as a published author.
If you like the old period dramas then you’ll probably enjoy this one. Running at just under 2 hours, it felt a tiny bit long but don’t let that put you off.