Thursday, January 30, 2014

Coco Before Chanel (2009) [PG-13] ****

This is a mildly entertaining, although ultimately forgettable, biopic about the early life of Gabrielle Coco Chanel (Audrey Tautou), from her humble beginnings as an orphan, to her time as a night club singer and seamstress, to her years as mistress and companion, first of Étienne Balsan (Benoît Poelvoorde) and later of Arthur Boy Capel (Alessandro Nivola), and, finally, ending with her rise to fame as a dress designer in Paris.

The lack of an historical context in the film leaves many questions unanswered, for instance: for what styles, designs and fabrics was Coco Chanel best known? Who were some of her most famous clients? Who were her most notable colleagues and competitors? How was her career impacted by World Wars I and II? While Audrey Tautou does the best with what she is given, the uninspired screenplay, lackluster direction and glacial pacing result in an incomplete biographical drama with little drama or passion. A French language production with English subtitles, the film was originally released in 2009 as Coco avant Chanel. The film will be best appreciated by forgiving fans of Audrey Tautou, with the caution that this is not AmélieThe Da Vinci Code, or Priceless

Labels: biography, drama    
Internet Movie Database    
Metacritic 65/100   
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=60, viewers=68)    
Wikipedia - Coco Chanel

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