This film is visually gorgeous, with fussy attention to detail and intelligent design choices that contribute to the storytelling. Of course the script has the luxury of a ready-made true biography that is filled with audacious sexual improprieties and the life writ large of the late 19th century, early 20th century literary world in France.
The musical soundtrack is superb, with exquisite melodies that perfectly underscore the emotion of a scene without being intrusive or obvious.
Keira Knightly claims her place among cinematic esteemed in her brilliant, captivating portrayal as French erotic novelist, Colette, who slowly lifts each finger of her husbands grip to become an independent, successful writer. Dominic West is Willy, the husband and publisher who unashamedly bathes in ghost-written literary fame. They both enjoy extramarital exploits, but Colette’s needs eventually mature beyond the simplistic – and deceitful – offerings of her much older husband.
Despite the saucy source material, it’s a fairly safe film and there is an element of “male gaze” in the script and directing. But still definitely worth watching.
Reviewed by Rita Bratovich