Colette (R, 2018)

Colette tells the true story of the early 20th century French author known as Colette, played by Keira Knightley. As a young woman from the country, her older husband takes her to Paris, where she learns that the city is not what she expected. Longing for her childhood in the country and hoping to earn some money at the same time, she writes a series of books loosely based on her childhood and publishes them under her husband’s name. The books are a smash hit, capturing the imagination of the country and inspiring plays, fashion accessories, and the very lives of their readers. In the face of this success, Colette struggles to take back control of her life, her love, and her stories. 

The best word I can use to describe this movie is lush. The costumes, the landscapes, the set design, and the score are warm and sumptuous. Both the simplicity of the country and extravagance of the city settings are delightful to take in, and who doesn’t love Keira Knightley in a period piece? Though stylistically different, it bears resemblance to the film Big Eyes, another story in which a woman’s talents are exploited by her husband. As in that movie, the ending is satisfying and leaves you with a sense of justice. As a final note, Colette also explores sexuality, as Colette realizes that she is attracted to women. The depiction of her life and love made this queer woman happy, but certain scenes with both men and women make this movie less than appropriate for children.

Reviewed by Emma, Circulation