Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
Wake up - Daniel dives into the monumental animated classic 'Sleeping Beauty' on a brand new episode of Ink & Paint - click to listen now!x
review, Colette, Colette, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Keira Knightley, Dominic West, Fiona Shaw, Ray Panthaki, Denise Gough, Robert Pugh, Rebecca Root, Aiysha Hart, Caroline Boulton, Máté Haumann, Wash Westmoreland film rating




By Jess Fenton
4th December 2018

Keira Knightly, never one to shy away from a corset, literary icon or fabulous historic woman, has found herself encapsulating all three in her latest project ‘Colette’ by ‘Still Alice’ director Wash Westmoreland, portraying the titular Nobel Prize nominee from the age of 19 to 33 - no easy task.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Knightly, ‘The Imitation Game’) is a sheltered country girl thrust into a passionate marriage with noted author and Parisian libertine Henry Gauthier-Villars (Dominic West, ‘Pride’) or “Willy” as his nom de plume. When money gets scarce thanks to Willy’s ways, he makes Gabrielle (as she’s known at the time) yet another one of his ghost writers and tasks her with the assignment to write about her school days. When the book titled ‘Claudine à l’école’ or ‘Claudine at School’ becomes a smash hit and takes Paris by storm, Willy continues to whittle away at their fortunes while forcing Gabrielle to write more, even resorting to locking her in her office until he’s satisfied with her output. Marriage-wise, Colette (as she now goes by) begins to explore lesbian dalliances at the encouragement of her husband as he too engages in extramarital affairs. When writing becomes a living hell, Claudine becomes so popular that she dominates their lives. Colette’s relationships also become more passionate and freeing, and she starts to desire her own identity - and most importantly, credit where credit is due, her name on the Claudine series - much to the chagrin of Willy, fearing the exposure of their charade will be their undoing.


For anyone who knows even a little of its heroine, this sliver of time covered in ‘Colette’ may seem about as entertaining as reading the white pages by comparison, but as today’s audiences has proven and as millions of dollars in market research have shown, we the people love an origin story. Now Colette may not wear a cape, but eventually she does wear the pants - an act quite scandalous of the time. ’Colette’ serves as a window to the truth behind a myth and the legend. And what a legend she turned out to be: feminists may not like this angle, but while on the surface ‘Colette’ tells the tale of the woman behind the “great man”, underneath it all this is in fact a glimpse at the man that helped make the great woman. Consider Willy and Colette as a turn-of-the-century Sid and Nancy, with sex instead of drugs and their sharp wit, words and half truths in place of fists.

Underneath it all, this is a glimpse at the man that helped make the great woman.

While a wonderful and gloriously rich film which also serves as hauntingly modern in subject, feminist and queer themes and ideas, I couldn’t help but feel that it and Knightly’s fabulous performance suffer under the existence of 2008’s ‘The Duchess’ in which Keira portrays a not-too-dissimilar character. Already a critically superior film (and commercially only time will tell), is 10 years long distance to distinguish these two powerhouse ladies and portrayals? Meanwhile, filmmaker Wash Westmoreland has once again told this story rather tamely (a bit disappointing considering his early foray in the adult film industry), perhaps not to overshadow his heroine but when leaving so much of this woman’s extraordinary life in the tank - a life that’s enough to fill a hundred biopics - I feel like he’s done the real Colette a disservice. This is a woman who fought and struggled to step out of the shadows, and once in the light she wasn’t going back - and yet Westmoreland has shoved this wild peg into a round hole and trapped her there. Do yourself a favour and don’t research our dear Colette after you see this film. The more you know, the more her glorious sheen is taken away - but like me, if you do, you’ll wonder why this period of her life is the story they chose to focus on.

RELEASE DATE: 20/12/2018
RUN TIME: 1h 51m
CAST: Keira Knightley
Dominic West
Fiona Shaw
Ray Panthaki
Denise Gough
Robert Pugh
Rebecca Root
Aiysha Hart
Caroline Boulton
Máté Haumann
DIRECTOR: Wash Westmoreland
WRITERS: Richard Glatzer
Rebecca Lenkiewicz
Wash Westmoreland
PRODUCERS: Elizabeth Karlsen
Pamela Koffler
Michel Litvak
Christine Vachon
Gary Michael Walters
Stephen Woolley
SCORE: Thomas Adès
The Marksman - Liam Neeson on the run
Music - Sia's feature debut falls flat
TRENDINGMUSICSia's feature debut falls flat
High Ground - Australia's cycle of violence
TRENDINGHIGH GROUNDAustralia's cycle of violence
Pocahontas - 25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
Peter Pan - Presented by National Theatre Live
TRENDINGPETER PANPresented by National Theatre Live
Boxing Day Movies 2020 - The year's biggest films bursting onto cinema screens
TRENDINGBOXING DAY MOVIES 2020The year's biggest films bursting onto cinema screens
Summerland - Sweet and sentimental
TRENDINGSUMMERLANDSweet and sentimental
Jungle - A true story told poorly
TRENDINGJUNGLEA true story told poorly
One Last Deal - A touching tale of final chances
TRENDINGONE LAST DEALA touching tale of final chances
Nymphomaniac - Lars, sex and cinema
25 Free-to-Watch Short Horror Films - The scariest shorts we uncovered online
TRENDING25 FREE-TO-WATCH SHORT HORROR FILMSThe scariest shorts we uncovered online
High School Musical - The start of something new, even 15 years on
TRENDINGHIGH SCHOOL MUSICALThe start of something new, even 15 years on
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
The Secrets We Keep - They kept a big secret... this movie is mediocre
TRENDINGTHE SECRETS WE KEEPThey kept a big secret... this movie is mediocre
My Shortest Love Affair - Making the best of an unexpected situation
TRENDINGMY SHORTEST LOVE AFFAIRMaking the best of an unexpected situation
La Dolce Vita - Not as sweet as you'd think 60 years on
TRENDINGLA DOLCE VITANot as sweet as you'd think 60 years on
Alita: Battle Angel - Devilishly fun sci-fi action
TRENDINGALITA: BATTLE ANGELDevilishly fun sci-fi action
© 2011 - 2021 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us!