Audrey Tautou), who began her life as headstrong orphan, and through an extraordinary journey became the legendary couturier who embodied the modern woman and became a timeless symbol of success, f">
1 hour, 50 minutes
PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned.
Audrey Tautou ... 'Coco' Chanel
Benoît Poelvoorde ... Étienne Balsan
Alessandro Nivola ... Arthur 'Boy' Capel
Marie Gillain ... Adrienne Chanel
Emmanuelle Devos ... Emilienne d'Alençon
Régis Royer ... Alec, le jockey
| Played by Audrey Tautou ("Amélie"), Coco is a cynical, independent and headstrong woman
who doesn’t suffer fools. She climbs her way out of poverty and into
society through an unconventional affair with Étienne Balsan (Benoît
Poelvoorde "Cow-Boy"), an older aristocrat, only to fall in love with Arther
‘Boy’ Capel (Alessandro Nivola "Junebug"), a young English businessman.
In many ways Coco Before Chanel is comparable to the 2007 Édith Piaf biopic La Vie En Rose, despite being set 30 years apart. Both films are about
iconic French women who went from rags to riches. Both Piaf and Chanel
came from poverty and became fiercely
independent self-made women, who each suffered tragic love
lives. However, while La Vie en Rose skilfully combined the details of Piaf’s personal life and her professional life, this film focuses predominantly
on Coco’s private life.
Tautou is an incredibly photogenic actor and she looks wonderful in the
various Chanel outfits that she gets to wear in the film, but she struggles to give depth to the
character. Her performance doesn’t come close to what Marion Cotillard brought to Piaf in La Vie en Rose. The men in Coco’s life do dominate her story, so her attitudes about fashion are only touched on. Her work and the social implications of
her designs are of secondary importance. While the detailed production design, sweeping
cinematography and the lush musical score are all impressive, there is nothing in Coco Before Chanel directed by Anne Fontaine ("The Girl from Monaco") that is particularly remarkable, since there are no surprises or truly standout moments. Although it's sometimes fascinating and an appropriately loving tribute to the legendary couturier, it is simply a competent, though unspectacular film.