Film Review: Keira Knightley and Dominic West shine in Colette

“The hand that holds the pen writes history” (Colette) ” Keira Knightley takes on her latest role of Colette.

Colette is the true story of a woman who has been denied her voice by an overbearing man, and who goes to extraordinary lengths to find it; a battle of the sexes at the very beginning of the modern age, when huge shifts were taking place in the roles of men and women.

More than a century after the publication of her first novel, Colette is still one of the best-selling, and beloved, French authors. Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, is a young woman from a country village and marries a charismatic and dominant Parisian. He is known only as “Willy”.

she is initiated into the bohemian lifestyle of Paris where she is inspired creatively. Ready to capitalize on her talent, Willy convinces his wife to write novels, which he suggests should be released with him named as the author. The phenomenal success of the series of novels titled “Claudine” makes Willy a well-known writer and “Colette and Willy” the “first couple” among contemporary celebrities.

Over time, the lack of recognition for her work thwarts and frustrates Colette. She begins a relationship with the Marquise de Belbeuf, who defies and hates stereotypes and labels. She encourages Colette to free herself. from Willy, however, he is determined to maintain his hold on her.

Keira Knightley shines as Colette as she brings Colette’s story and the struggles she faced in life. The chemistry between Colette and Willy ( Dominic West) is electric and shines through on the screen showcasing and drawing you into their complex relationship. They were the celebrity of their time. Everyone wanted to be them, or at least be “Claudine”.

It feels fair to say that after watching the film that Willy simply exploited Collete. As she gave as good as she got, especially towards the end of the movie as her relationship with the Marquise developed. Colette was smart and strong-minded. But it seems that he saw her as a money-making machine. Much like many in the Celebrity filled society we live in do today.

Colette lived a fascinating life. Many of the themes highlighted within the movie are still as relevant today as they were at the start of the 20th century. This is very much a film that speaks to society today as much as it did when Colette lived.

Colette is in cinemas now.

Written by Kelly McFarland

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