Colette (2018 film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byWash Westmoreland
Screenplay by
Story byRichard Glatzer
Based onLife of Colette
Produced by
CinematographyGiles Nuttgens
Edited byLucia Zucchetti
Music byThomas Adès
Distributed by
Release dates
  • January 20, 2018 (2018-01-20) (Sundance)
  • September 21, 2018 (2018-09-21) (United States)
  • January 11, 2019 (2019-01-11) (United Kingdom)
Running time
112 minutes
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Hungary
Box office$14.3 million[2]

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[3] 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 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.

The real Colette in "Rêve d'Egypte"

Colette also tells him of her days as a schoolgirl. With Willy 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, who presents as male. 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 burn 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.



Cogges Manor Farm

It was first announced on February 1, 2016, that Colette would be directed by Still Alice's (2014) Wash Westmoreland,[4] 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.[5] Bold Films financed and co-produced the film, marking the company's first foray into the UK.[citation needed] On the same day Deadline announced that Keira Knightley would star as Colette.[4] 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.[6] Deadline announced on May 23, 2017 that Denise Gough, Fiona Shaw, Robert Pugh, and Rebecca Root had joined Knightley and West in the film.[7] On June 21, 2017, it was announced that Eleanor Tomlinson and Aiysha Hart had joined the cast.[8]

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 Manor Farm, Witney in Oxfordshire.[9]

Cogges Manor Farm doubled as Collette's childhood home. Salcy Park in Northamptonshire was used as her country house. Most of the Paris scenes were not shot in Paris, but in Budapest, Hungary.[10]


The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2018.[11] Shortly after, Bleecker Street, 30West and Lionsgate acquired US and UK distribution rights to the film, respectively.[12][13] It was released in the United States on September 21, 2018 to "select theatres" and wide released on October 12, 2018.[14][15] It was released in the United Kingdom on January 11, 2019.[16]


Box office[edit]

Keira Knightley's performance received positive reviews.

Colette grossed $5.1 million in the United States and Canada, and $9.1 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $14.3 million.[2]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 87% based on 222 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."[17] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 74 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[18]

For, 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."[19] 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?"[20]

Vikram Murthi at The A.V. Club, was less enthused, writing "Keira Knightley's charms fail to save the timely, tepid biopic Colette" and graded it "C+".[21]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
British Independent Film Awards 2 December 2018 Best Supporting Actor Dominic West Nominated [22][23]
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 [24][25]
Hollywood Music in Media Awards 14 November 2018 Best Original Score — Independent Film Thomas Adès Won [26]
Independent Spirit Awards 23 February 2019 Best Screenplay Richard Glatzer, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, and Wash Westmoreland Nominated [27]
Satellite Awards 22 February 2019 Best Original Score Thomas Adès Nominated [28]
Best Costume Design Andrea Flesch Nominated
Seattle Film Critics Society 17 December 2018 Best Costume Design Andrea Flesch Nominated [30][31]


  1. ^ a b "Film #77716: Colette". Lumiere. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Colette". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. 2018. Retrieved 20 July 2022.
  3. ^ Orlova-Alvarez, Tamara; Alvarez, Joe (October 6, 2018). "Wash Westmoreland: "My dad started me making films"". Ikon London Magazine. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Jaafar, Ali (2016-02-01). "Keira Knightley In Talks To Star In 'Colette' Biopic". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2017-05-16.
  5. ^ Barraclough, Leo (February 1, 2016). "Keira Knightley in Talks to Star in 'Carol' Producers' 'Colette'". Variety. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  6. ^ "Keira Knightley drama 'Colette' adds Dominic West ahead of shoot". Screen Daily. Retrieved 2017-05-16.
  7. ^ Lodderhose, Diana (2017-05-23). "Denise Gough, Fiona Shaw, Robert Pugh & Rebecca Root Round Out Cast For 'Colette'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  8. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (2017-06-21). "Eleanor Tomlinson Cast In 'Colette'; Vlad Alexis Boards 'Code 8'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  9. ^ "Film crews at farm for Keira Knightley movie". Witney Gazette. 26 May 2017. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  10. ^ The Jaw-Dropping Decor of Colette, Keira Knightley's New Film About the Visionary French Novelist by Juliet Izon, 21 September 2018, retrieved 11 December 2021
  11. ^ Debruge, Peter (2017-11-29). "Sundance Film Festival Unveils Full 2018 Features Lineup". Variety. Retrieved 2017-11-29.
  12. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (January 21, 2018). "Keira Knightley-Starrer 'Colette' In First Big Sundance Deal: Bleecker Street & 30WEST Team For U.S. Rights". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 14, 2018.
  13. ^ Lang, Brent (January 21, 2018). "Sundance: Lionsgate Nabs U.K. Rights for 'Colette' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved July 14, 2018.
  14. ^ "Colette release schedule". Bleecker Street Media. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  15. ^ Chuba, Kirsten (2018-02-16). "Bleecker Street Announces Release Dates, Including 'Colette,' 'Papillon,' 'On Chesil Beach'". Variety. Retrieved 2018-02-16.
  16. ^ "Colette". Launching Films. Archived from the original on October 12, 2019. Retrieved July 14, 2018.
  17. ^ "Colette (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  18. ^ "Colette Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  19. ^ Allen, Nick (5 February 2018). "Sundance 2018: Shirkers, Generation Wealth, Colette". Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  20. ^ Dargis, Manohla (September 20, 2018). "Review: 'Colette' and One Woman's Lust for Life". The New York Times. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  21. ^ "Keira Knightley's charms fail to save the timely, tepid biopic Colette". The A.V. Club. 19 September 2018.
  22. ^ "Craft Winners Announced" (Press release). London: British Independent Film Awards. 15 November 2018. Archived from the original on 15 November 2018. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  23. ^ "The Favourite Wins 10 Including Best British Independent Film" (Press release). London: British Independent Film Awards. 3 December 2018. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  24. ^ Kilkenny, Katie (January 3, 2019). "'The Favourite,' 'Pose,' 'Killing Eve' Lead Dorian Award Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on January 4, 2019. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  25. ^ Kilday, Gregg (8 January 2019). "Dorian Awards: 'The Favourite' Named Film of the Year". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 9 January 2019. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  26. ^ "Hollywood Music in Media Awards: Full List of Winners". The Hollywood Reporter. 15 November 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  27. ^ "34th Film Independent Spirits Nominations Announced" (PDF) (Press release). Los Angeles: Independent Spirit Awards. November 15, 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 16, 2018. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  28. ^ "International Press Academy The 23rd Annual Satellite Awards™ 2018 Nominations Ballot" (PDF) (Press release). International Press Academy. 29 November 2018. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 November 2018. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  29. ^ "'Roma', 'A Star is Born' Set for Top Honors at 23rd Satellite™ Awards" (Press release). International Press Academy. 3 January 2019. Archived from the original on 4 January 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  30. ^ "'The Favourite' Leads the 2018 Seattle Film Critics Society Nominations" (Press release). Seattle, WA: Seattle Film Critics Society. 10 December 2018. Archived from the original on 11 December 2018. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  31. ^ "'Roma' Named Best Picture of 2018 by Seattle Film Critics Society" (Press release). Seattle, WA: Seattle Film Critics Society. 17 December 2018. Archived from the original on 17 December 2018. Retrieved 17 December 2018.

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