Coco Before Chanel

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Coco Before Chanel
Coco avant Chanel poster.png
French theatrical release poster
FrenchCoco avant Chanel
Directed byAnne Fontaine
Produced by
  • Simon Arnal
  • Caroline Benjo
  • Philippe Carcassonne
  • Carole Scotta
Written by
  • Anne Fontaine
  • Camille Fontaine
Based onChanel and Her World
by Edmonde Charles-Roux
Music byAlexandre Desplat
CinematographyChristophe Beaucarne
Edited byLuc Barnier
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • 6 April 2009 (2009-04-06) (Paris)
  • 22 April 2009 (2009-04-22) (France and Belgium)
Running time
105 minutes
  • France
  • Belgium
  • French
  • English
Budget$22.2 million[1]
Box office$50.8 million[2]

Coco Before Chanel (French: Coco avant Chanel) is a 2009 biographical drama film directed and co-written by Anne Fontaine. The film stars Audrey Tautou and details the early life of French fashion designer Coco Chanel.

The film premiered in Paris on 6 April 2009 and was released in France and Belgium on 22 April 2009. As of 21 December that year, it had grossed $43,832,376 worldwide.[3] The production budget was $23 million.[4]

Instead of releasing Coco Before Chanel in the United States itself, Warner Bros. Pictures let Sony Pictures Classics handle the release there.[5] The film grossed $6 million in the United States.[4][6]

Coco Before Chanel was nominated for four BAFTA Awards, three European Film Awards, six César Awards and the Oscar for Best Costume Design.


Several years after leaving the orphanage in Aubazine where her father abandoned her, a young Gabrielle Chanel finds herself working in a provincial bar. She works as a seamstress for the performers by day and a cabaret singer by night, earning the nickname "Coco" from the song she sings with her sister Adrienne. A liaison with the charismatic Baron Balsan 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, 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 to start as a reminder of their love.



Critical response[edit]

Roger Ebert praised the film for its unsentimental approach to Chanel's early years.[7] English critic Philip French found the film handsomely designed, tasteful, and reserved, but rather dull.[8]

Coco Before Chanel has an approval rating of 64% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 135 reviews, and an average rating of 6.05/10. The website's critical consensus states, "Though it doesn't quite capture the complexity of its subject's life, Coco Avant Chanel remains a fascinating, appropriately lovely tribute".[9] Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 65 out of 100, based on 30 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[10]


Date of ceremony Award Category Recipients Result
17 October 2009[11][12] World Soundtrack Awards Film Composer of the Year Alexandre Desplat Won
12 December 2009[13] European Film Awards Prix d'Excellence Catherine Leterrier (costume design) Nominated
Best Composer Alexandre Desplat Nominated
People's Choice Award for Best European Film Coco Before Chanel Nominated
21 December 2009[14] St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Awards Best Foreign Language Film Coco Before Chanel Nominated
15 January 2010[15] Critics' Choice Movie Award Best Foreign Language Film Coco Before Chanel Nominated
15 February 2010[16][17] Étoiles D'or du Cinéma Français Best Film Composer Alexandre Desplat Won
20 February 2010[18] Golden Reel Awards Best Sound Editing in a Feature Foreign Language Film Jean-Claude Laureux
Franck Desmoulins
Anne Gibourg
Sylvain Malbrant
Claire-Anne Largeron
Pascal Chauvin
21 February 2010[19] British Academy Film Awards Best Film Not in the English Language Coco Before Chanel Nominated
Best Actress in a Leading Role Audrey Tautou Nominated
Best Costume Design Catherine Leterrier Nominated
Best Makeup and Hair Thi Thanh Tu Nguyen
Madeleine Cofano
Jane Milon
25 February 2010[20] Costume Designers Guild Awards Excellence in Period Film Catherine Leterrier Nominated
27 February 2010[21] César Awards Best Actress Audrey Tautou Nominated
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Benoit Poelvoorde Nominated
Best Writing – Adaptation Anne Fontaine
Camille Fontaine
Best Photo Christophe Beaucarne Nominated
Best Costumes Catherine Leterrier Won
Best Set Design Olivier Radot Nominated
7 March 2010[22] Academy Awards Best Costume Design Catherine Leterrier Nominated
5 February 2011[23] Magritte Awards Best Supporting Actor Benoît Poelvoorde Nominated


  1. ^ "Coco avant Chanel (Coco Before Chanel) (2009)". JPBox-Office.
  2. ^ "Coco Before Chanel". Box Office Mojo.
  3. ^ "Coco Before Chanel (2009)". The Numbers. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
  4. ^ a b "Coco Before Chanel". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  5. ^ Jaafar, Ali (17 April 2009). "Hollywood biz without borders". Variety.
  6. ^ Tobias, Scott (19 November 2004). "Foreign affairs". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 3 July 2009. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
  7. ^ Roger Ebert (2009). "Coco Before Chanel". Chicago Sun Times.
  8. ^ French, Philip (2 August 2009). "Coco Before Chanel". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  9. ^ "Coco Before Chanel (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  10. ^ "Coco Before Chanel". Metacritic. Retrieved 2020-04-01.
  11. ^ "World Soundtrack Awards: Awards for 2009". IMDb. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  12. ^ "Awards - Film Composer of the Year: Awards archive - Film Composer of the Year: 2009". Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  13. ^ "European Film Awards 2009". Archived from the original on 19 January 2012. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  14. ^ "St. Louis Film Critics: 2009 - St. Louis Film Critics' Awards". Archived from the original on 12 December 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  15. ^ "15th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards (2010) – Best Picture: The Hurt Locker: Best Foreign Language Film". Critics' Choice Movie Awards. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  16. ^ "Etoiles d'Or de la Presse du Cinéma Français 2010 (édition n°11)" (in French). AlloCiné. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  17. ^ "Étoiles d'Or: Awards for 2010". IMDb. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  18. ^ "Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA: Awards for 2010". IMDb. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  19. ^ "BAFTA Awards Search: 2010". Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  20. ^ "Costume Designers Guild Awards: Awards for 2010". IMDb. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  21. ^ "Palmares 2010 - 35th Cesar Award Ceremony". Archived from the original on 18 October 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  22. ^ "Oscars Ceremonies: The 82nd Academy Awards - 2010: Winners & Nominees - Costume Design". Oscars. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  23. ^ "Les Magritte du Cinema – Archives: 2011 - Les Nominés" (in French). Les Magritte du Cinema. Archived from the original on 14 December 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2014.

External links[edit]