Panorama | Special Presentations
Keira Knightley gives the performance of her professional career in Wash Westmoreland’s sparkling look at the early life of Sidonie-Gabrielle Collette, the French writer and feminist icon who turned fin de siècle Paris upside down with her life and work. Co-starring a perfectly cast Dominic West as Colette’s libertine first husband, the charming rogue and writer known only as "Willy" who took credit for Colette’s first four novels while sharing a lover with her, Westmoreland’s biopic traces the writer-actor’s life from her provincial upbringing to her halcyon days causing an uproar in the salons and vaudeville theatres of Paris. The core of the film, however, is her fraught relationship with Willy and how the constraints and slights she faced ended up engendering a writing career that made her one of France’s most beloved artists. This is a heady, champagne cocktail of a film made all the more delightful by Knightley’s bravura turn.
"No, not another biopic about a writer! Ugh, Keira Knightley’s in a corset again! Get all of that out of your system now because I’m here to tell you that Wash Westmoreland’s Colette is exhilarating, funny, inspiring and (remember: corsets!) gorgeous, too… Colette’s life is deserving of nuance and care, and that’s what she gets in this film. She also gets Keira Knightley in top form: luminous, clever, sexy and sympathetic."—Jordan Hoffman, Guardian