In early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend, Lady Sarah, governs the country in her stead. When a new servant, Abigail, arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.
After marrying successful Parisian writer Henry Gauthier-Villars, known commonly as "Willy" (Dominic West), Gabrielle Colette (Keira Knightley) is transplanted from her childhood home in rural France to the intellectual and artistic splendor of Paris. Soon after, Willy convinces Colette to ghostwrite for him. Colette, in turn, pens a semi-autobiographical novel about a witty and brazen country girl named Claudine, sparking a bestseller and a cultural sensation. After it's success, Colette and Willy become the talk of Paris and their adventures inspire additional Claudine novels. Colette's fight over creative ownership and gender roles drives her to overcome societal constraints, revolutionizing literature, fashion and sexual expression.Written by
The director had Keira Knightley leading from the start for Colette and met her the first time via FaceTime when he was invited to the Shanghai Film Festival. It was midnight then and there was almost no battery left. In a few minutes, he managed to convince her to take part in the adventure just before his phone went out. See more »
At the start of the film the Wisteria is in bloom suggesting that it is late spring, however Colette's mother asks her to pick some Blackberries, which would not be ripe for picking until late summer/early autumn. See more »
I Can Read You Like The Top Line of an Optician's Chart.
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There is a dedication to Richard Glatzer, who co-wrote the film's screenplay with Wash Westmoreland, shortly before the closing credits: "For Richard". See more »
It's 1892 France. Struggling self-important writer Willy (Dominic West) woos naive country girl Colette (Keira Knightley). They get married and live in Paris. He wastes their money on his mistress and other things. With their money struggles, he finds her journals and adapt them into a novel. It becomes highly successful and spawns a vast industry. He pushes her to write more material. He has more mistresses and she would have a long term love affair with a divorced woman named Missy. Colette would battle Willy over her authorship on the road to becoming one of France's great female writers.
Right from the start, Willy is an annoying old guy creeping on a young girl. It's toxic from the very beginning. It's an infuriating and tiresome relationship to watch. That's why I would cut out some of their early stuff and bring in Missy earlier. There is more drama to be found in the battle over her authorship. It's a compelling story of female empowerment but it's not a compelling watch. I like Keira in this and Dominic does what's required. This needs to make Willy the full villain and turn up the drama.
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