movies: coco avant chanel

coco before chanelI don't think there could have been a greater contrast between this week's movie, Coco Avant Chanel (or Coco Before Chanel), and last week's movie...

Unlike last week's exploding robotfest, this was a somewhat quiet, slightly slow and very character orientated movie. Now, other than the fact that she made fabulous clothes (and possibly the most famous perfume in all the world), I don't know a damn thing about Coco Chanel... and while I'm still not sure I know that much about her once she became THE Coco Chanel, it was an interesting look into her background... however accurate or invented it may have been.

It does make me want to find a Coco Chanel biography though...

One of the downsides was that because it was focussed on a particular period of her life before she really became successful, it had to gloss over how she got from where she was to who she became and it was really only covered in a brief montage at the end. So a touch disappointing in that regard.

Audrey Tautou was wonderful as always as Coco, although it was about as far away from as you could every hope to get from Amélie... Coco is a much more prickly character and you often don't get a sense of what she's thinking or feeling (I did wonder at one point whether narration would have helped, although it might just have been because I've seen Audrey in a few things that have narration).

Her co-stars are excellent as well, particularly Benoît Poelvoorde as Balsan, who goes from likeable to repellent and most of the way back again... but then that's people for you... they're very seldom always one thing forever in real life.

I'm also having a big ol crush on the very European sounding but American born Alessandro Nivola, even with the little moustache...

I will say though, that for a movie about one of the most stylish women ever, the clothes (while I'm sure they're completely accurate and appropriate to the period) are actually fairly awful. There are a few stand-out pieces... the "first ever little black dress", and a number of her outfits towards the end, as well as the fashion show right at the end... must it was a little disappointing from that perspective.

I also have to give a big fat brickbat to the focus puller, Hugues Espinasse, who couldn't seem to grasp the concept of his job... and whoever was responsible for the subtitles, because they weren't the best I've ever seen.

But even with those minor complaints, it was still an interesting movie.

yani's rating: 2 chapeau out of 5

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