In the early 20th century, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette(Keira Knightly) agrees to ghostwrite a somewhat autobiographical novel for her husband, Willy (Dominic West). The novel becomes a sensational success, inspiring Colette to fight for ownership.
Without a doubt, Colette is a bold and interesting story with a fascinating protagonist. Knightly gives one of her most captivating performances to date capturing Colette’s full transformation from a naive country girl to a confident and self-aware woman.
The film as a whole, however (despite its beautiful settings and production) is extremely long-winded and at times felt almost as exhausting as Willy and Colette’s marriage.
Unlike some biographical films that flow seamlessly as the years pass, Colette felt unbalanced. Certain scenes were phenomenal while others seemed unnecessary and fell flat. I feel that sometimes directors and writers feel pressure to include every segment of someone’s journey into a biopic, which may be why Colette did not flow as smoothly as I hoped.
I would not go as far as to say that Colette is a train wreck. It’s a good story with great messages about being true to one’s self, however, I just wish it was told differently.
Final Thoughts: Colette is not Oscar-worthy material but it offers a stellar performance by Knightly and insight into a historical figure.