Colette (2018 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Wash Westmoreland|
|Story by||Richard Glatzer|
|Music by||Thomas Adès|
|Edited by||Lucia Zucchetti|
|Box office||$14.6 million|
Colette is a 2018 biographical drama film directed by Wash Westmoreland, from a screenplay by Westmoreland, Rebecca Lenkiewicz and Richard Glatzer, based upon the life of the French novelist Colette. It stars Keira Knightley, Dominic West, Eleanor Tomlinson, and Denise Gough.
It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2018. It was released in the United States on September 21, 2018, by Bleecker Street and 30West. The film premiered in London at the BFI London Film Festival and was released in the United Kingdom on January 11, 2019, by Lionsgate.
Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette is a young woman from the rural Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye at the end of the 19th century, who begins an affair with Willy. Willy eventually brings Colette to Paris as his bride, with socialites expressing surprise a libertine like him would marry. Willy refers to himself as a "literary entrepreneur", employing a number of ghostwriters to write articles. However, he finds the limited output does not bring in enough revenue to cover his expenses, due to his expensive lifestyle of entertaining socialites. He commissions one ghostwriter to work on a novel while Colette manages his correspondence. One day, Colette finds Willy with a prostitute, leading to a separation. He eventually persuades her to return, promising honesty.
Colette also tells him of her days as a schoolgirl. With Willy finding his expenses mounting and increasingly unable to pay his writers, he asks Colette to write a novel based on her school stories. She completes a draft of Claudine à l'école, which Willy rejects for lacking plot. Years later, some of Willy's furniture is repossessed, and he stumbles on the draft. He suggests revisions and the novel is submitted and published under Willy's byline. Claudine à l'école becomes a bestseller, particularly attracting a female readership. Faced with his first true hit, Willy tells his publisher a sequel is coming, purchases a country house, and locks Colette in a room there to force her to write. Initially objecting, Colette writes Claudine à Paris, which becomes another bestseller.
As Colette and Willy become an increasingly recognized couple, she attracts the notice of Georgie Raoul-Duval, a Louisiana debutante and they begin an affair. Jealous, Willy also begins an affair with Georgie. Colette discovers this, and bases her next book, Claudine en ménage, on the episode. Fearing scandal, Georgie's husband purchases and burns all copies of the book before sale, but does not purchase the copyright, allowing Willy to reprint and sell the book.
The Claudine books enjoy continued success, including a stage adaptation, starring Polaire. Colette begins an affair with Missy, a lesbian socialite who preferred masculine attire. They begin dancing and develop an act at the Moulin Rouge that draws a morally outraged response when they kiss onstage. Willy cites the act as a financial disaster and sells all rights to the Claudine books for 5,000 francs without Colette's knowledge. Angered and feeling betrayed, Colette leaves Willy. Willy asks his employee Paul to incinerate the Claudine manuscripts; Paul returns them to Colette instead. Colette becomes recognized as a writer in her own right, beginning with The Vagabond, published under her byline, about her music hall experience.
- Keira Knightley as Gabrielle Colette
- Dominic West as Henry Gauthier-Villars, Colette’s husband
- Eleanor Tomlinson as Georgie Raoul-Duval
- Aiysha Hart as Polaire
- Fiona Shaw as Sido
- Denise Gough as Mathilde de Morny aka "Missy"
- Robert Pugh as Jules
- Rebecca Root as Rachilde
- Jake Graf as Gaston Arman de Caillavet
- Julian Wadham as Ollendorff
- Polina Litvak as Lily
- Caroline Boulton as Flossy
It was first announced on February 1, 2016, that Colette would be directed by Still Alice's (2014) Wash Westmoreland, who co-wrote the script with his late Still Alice collaborator and husband Richard Glatzer. The film reunites the producing team behind Carol, Number 9 Films and Killer Films. Bold Films financed and co-produced the film, marking the company's first foray into the UK. On the same day Deadline announced that Keira Knightley would star as Colette. On May 15, 2017, it was announced that Dominic West would join the cast as Colette's first husband. Chris Pratt, Josh Henderson and Sullivan Stapleton were also considered. Deadline announced on May 23, 2017 that Denise Gough, Fiona Shaw, Robert Pugh, and Rebecca Root had joined Knightley and West in the film. On June 21, 2017, it was announced that Eleanor Tomlinson and Aiysha Hart had joined the cast.
It was announced by Gary Michael Walters that production would start filming in summer 2017. On May 26, 2017, the film's crew was spotted filming at Cogges Farm, Witney in Oxfordshire. Knightley was spotted on the streets of Budapest, Hungary on her day off of filming there.
The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2018. Shortly after, Bleecker Street, 30West and Lionsgate acquired U.S. and U.K. distribution rights to the film, respectively. It was released in the United States on September 21, 2018 to "select theatres" and wide released on October 12, 2018. It was released in the United Kingdom on January 11, 2019.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 87% based on 187 reviews, with an average rating of 7.2/10. The website critical consensus reads, "Formally familiar but a brilliant match for its lead, Colette is a thoroughly entertaining biopic and an overdue testament to Keira Knightley's underrated gifts." On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 74 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating "generally positive reviews".
For RogerEbert.com, Nick Allen wrote a positive review after the film's world premiere at Sundance. He said that "As a period film that's more than ready for 2018, Colette embodies the power of thinking forward in more ways than one."
According to reviewer Manohla Dargis of The New York Times, "Mr. Westmoreland [film director of Colette] ... wanted to make a liberation story. He has succeeded, at times movingly ... The whole thing is too smooth, clean and aspirational. And of course he omits much ... but with a life this exuberantly full, how could he not?"
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s)||Result||Ref(s)|
|British Independent Film Awards||2 December 2018||Best Supporting Actor||Dominic West||Nominated|||
|Best Costume Design||Andrea Flesch||Nominated|
|Best Make Up & Hair Design||Ivana Primorac||Nominated|
|Best Production Design||Michael Carlin||Nominated|
|Dorian Awards||12 January 2019||Unsung Film of the Year||Colette||Nominated|||
|Hollywood Music in Media Awards||14 November 2018||Best Original Score — Independent Film||Thomas Adès||Won|||
|Independent Spirit Awards||23 February 2019||Best Screenplay||Richard Glatzer, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, and Wash Westmoreland||Nominated|||
|Satellite Awards||22 February 2019||Best Original Score||Thomas Adès||Nominated|||
|Best Costume Design||Andrea Flesch||Nominated|
|Seattle Film Critics Society||17 December 2018||Best Costume Design||Andrea Flesch||Nominated|||
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