by Ian Morton
Colette is a joyous look at one of the most acclaimed French novelists of the early 20th Century. Starting as a young girl on the verge of marriage through to her burgeoning career in the arts, this is the true life story Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (later known only as Colette) in a story that makes Jane Austen’s rise through the literary ranks look easier than a summer on reality TV show, Love Island.
Holding no punches, the plot wastes no time unraveling each chapter of Colette’s story. Touching on all aspects of her life, the story line does well at giving a glimpse of all sides of the writers personality. Taking on many roles from wife through to new age feminist, it’s a neat depiction of how each of them came to be and the triggers that lead the historical figure to find her voice and break through the many barriers of the time. It’s a fresh adaptation that ultimately finds traction in a radically changing world.
Director Wash Westmoreland adds further credence to the cause with an exceptional turn behind the camera. No stranger to a strong female character, Westmoreland frames each scene according to where we are in the characters journey. Light and open spaces depict a younger, more naive Sidone whereas dark colours and cloudy horizons creep in when there is trouble on the horizon for Colette. Clearly learning a lot from his time on 2014, ‘Still Alice’, it’s a character study that does more than just copy and paste a history book to the big screen.
Rounding the production up nicely is the impressive casting of Keira Knightley. In somewhat of a throwback to previous roles, Knightley gives what could arguably be a career defining performance by jumping in with both feet. Witty, charming and unashamedly honest, its a role that couldn’t be further from her days on the Black Pearl. Partnered with the bawdy and annoyingly affable Dominic West, and the result is a collaboration that has more chemistry than a 7 year old’s Christmas present.
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