Coco Before Chanel
|Coco Before Chanel|
French theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Anne Fontaine|
|Produced by||Simon Arnal
|Written by||Anne Fontaine
|Based on||Chanel and Her World by
|Music by||Alexandre Desplat|
|Edited by||Luc Barnier|
Haut et Court
France 2 Cinéma
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures (France)
Sony Pictures Classics (United States)
Coco Before Chanel (French: Coco avant Chanel) is a 2009 French film about the early life of famed French fashion designer Coco Chanel. French actress Audrey Tautou stars as Chanel. Coco avant Chanel was directed and co-written by actor turned director Anne Fontaine.
Instead of releasing Coco Before Chanel in the United States itself, Warner Bros. Pictures let Sony Pictures Classics handle the release there. The film grossed $6 million in the United States.
Several years after leaving the orphanage where her father abandoned her, a young Gabrielle Chanel finds herself working in a provincial bar. She is both a seamstress for the performers and a singer, earning the nickname 'Coco' from the song she sings nightly with her sister. A liaison with the charismatic Baron Balsan (Belgian actor Benoît Poelvoorde) gives her an entry into French high society, and a chance to develop her gift for designing increasingly popular hats.
Coco falls in love with English businessman Arthur Capel (American Alessandro Nivola, who learnt French especially for the film), unaware that he is betrothed to a woman in England. Capel believes in Coco's talent making hats and her refusal to follow the whims of fashion; as he says to Coco, "There's no one else like you". As Coco's business flourishes and life is going well, Capel dies in a car accident; she is devastated. However, Coco still has the business that Capel helped her start as a reminder of their love.
- Audrey Tautou as Coco Chanel
- Benoît Poelvoorde as Étienne Balsan
- Alessandro Nivola as Arthur Capel
- Marie Gillain as Adrienne Chanel
- Emmanuelle Devos as Émilienne d’Alençon
Roger Ebert praised the film for its unsentimental approach to Chanel's early years. English critic Philip French found the film handsomely designed, tasteful, reserved, and rather dull. One hundred twenty-six critics on website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an average rating of 63%. The film's average on Metacritic from reviewers was 65% as of 6 December 2012, with a 69% rating from general users of the website.
Awards and nominations
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- Jaafar, Ali (17 April 2009). "Hollywood biz without borders". Variety.
- Tobias, Scott (19 November 2004). "Foreign affairs". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on July 3, 2009. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
- "Coco Before Chanel". Chicago Sun Times.
- French, Philip (2 August 2009). "Coco Before Chanel". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
- "Coco Before Chanel (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
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