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Colette 15 rating

This witty, Belle Époque-era biopic stars Keira Knightley and Dominic West as literary couple Colette and Willy, whose relationship rewrote social and gender rules.

Biopic 2019 112 mins

Director: Wash Westmoreland



Free-thinking country girl Sidonie-Gabrielle ‘Colette’ is barely out of her teens when she marries ‘Willy’, a literary impresario 14 years her senior; the two become a fixture of the Paris avant-garde salons of the late 19th century. Recognising her talent, Willy puts Colette to work, publishing her under his name. But when her titillating, risqué Claudine series – thinly veiled autobiographical tales of the Sapphic loves of a French school girl – becomes a smash hit, Colette tires of Willy stealing her success and fights back to reclaim her own literary name.

Following his Oscar-winning Still Alice, writer-director Wash Westmoreland delivers a rollicking, bang-on-zeitgeist drama (and a glorious tribute to Westmoreland’s late partner Richard Glatzer, with whom he started the project). Dominic West gleefully embodies the charming if sleazy Willy, who is shocked when his wife challenges him. And Knightley is sensational as Colette, blooming from provincial maiden to a radical rule-defying feminist and iconoclast. Colette is a swaggering portrait of a great female artist – defiant in her public affairs with both men and women, and in fighting her husband for her intellectual property rights – and a paean to one of the architects of modern womanhood.