Review Round Up: Colette

Keira Knightley stars in this new biopic about the French writer. Love  London Love Culture rounds up the reviews… 

The Observer: **** “Beautifully shot by cinematographer Giles Nuttgens, with production designs inspired by the French films of German director Max Ophüls, Colette convincingly conjures a late-19th/early-20th century milieu, to which it adds a thoroughly modern sensibility.” *** “There’s a light touch to the whole thing that works to make this enjoyable and engaging viewing.”

Empire: **** “Anchoring it all is Keira Knightley’s fiery performance as the restless, joyful, exasperated and sometimes exasperating Colette. She’s said that period dramas frequently offer women the best roles. On this evidence, she’s right.”

The Mirror: *** “However, while the film is most certainly witty, it is perhaps too safe. Colette was a highly controversial figure, but too often here do the stakes feel hollow and her deviations from societal norms a bit too easy.”

Radio Times: **** “For all its virtue-signalling in the direction of modern sexual politics, it looks and feels every inch like a period drama from the school of Merchant Ivory.” *** “It’s a shame that Colette isn’t as radical as its heroine. But maybe its straightforward, unchallenging approach will attract a wider audience to her taboo-busting adventures – and there is something radical about that.”

The Guardian: **** “exhilarating, funny, inspiring and (remember: corsets!) gorgeous, too.”

The Arts Desk: ***** “This is a shrewdly contemporary-feeling story of female self-determination in a world of stultifying male privilege, though the sparkling script and dynamic performances never make it feel like propaganda or special pleading (a quick mention for Fiona Shaw as Colette’s mother Sido, urging her daughter to cut Willy loose and do her own thing).”

Den of Geek: **** “It’s the intersection of the graceful and the scandalous, the champagne and the bubbles that make it sparkle.”

The Reviews Hub: ***** “Keira Knightley as Colette pulls off a simply stunning performance, ranging from vulnerable to feisty, sexy to scared. Dominic West as Willy is equally excellent, displaying misogyny and sexism, selfishness but also quite desperate to impress others. Aiysha Hart is exquisite as the look-alike actress that plays Claudine in the play. And Denise Gough as Mathilde de Morny, a.k.a. Missy, a noblewoman who wears the trousers literally in her long-term affair with Colette, really revels in the role.”

The Wrap: “Westmoreland’s primary aim is to present an appealing historical heroine who will resonate today. He accomplishes this goal handily, but then keeps returning to it. Did we need so many moments in which the patriarchal Willy and the independent Colette clash? Couldn’t some have been cut, so we could also witness at least a few of her ensuing triumphs and failures?”

Time Out: **** “Knightley, whose career was somewhat defined by the billowy gowns of British period drama, wears her increasingly androgynous wardrobe in ‘Colette’ with a refreshing bravado, and Andrea Flesch’s work as costume designer is easily the highlight.”

Slant Magazine: *** “Colette is much too focused on its heroine’s idiosyncrasies and personal struggles to cast her as a renegade out to shake up the status quo, but it feels good to cheer for her when she inevitably does.”

Culture Whisper: **** “More than passionate thrills, the dialogue has a certain punch and poetry to it – especially when Willy is pretentiously dismantling a play he didn’t like – flowing with strength like Thomas Adès’s booming orchestral score.”

Colette is released in cinemas on the 11th January.

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