First Hit: With the empowerment of women being in the forefront, it was great to watch Colette take charge of her life.
Colette (Keira Knightly) becomes enamored by Willy (Dominic West) who is somewhat of a blowhard male chauvinist who disrespects everyone except anyone who has more money or prestige than him.
He contracts with people to write stories, books, and plays for him and because of his spending and gambling habits, he's always in debt. After their marriage he continues to have affairs with scores of women in Paris, which infuriates Colette but more for the lying than the affairs themselves. Because they are pressed for money, he locks Colette into a room to make her write for him.
She writes books that become the talk of Paris. Everyone loves the books and Willy, the supposed author, becomes the talk of the town. Setting social and artistic trends, Willy and Colette become enamored with their life. But, tension begins to percolate because Colette is the real author of the books and no one knows.
What I really liked about this movie is that Knightly, as Colette, is definitely in her element. Her natural wit and intelligence was never a match for Willy or Georgie Raoul-Duval (Eleanor Tomlinson), Collette’s first lesbian relationship.
Knightly was superb. Her airiness and ease of sharing a strong Colette was sublime. West was excellent as the overbearing chauvinistic husband and ego driven writer. Fiona Shaw was perfect as Colette’s mother supporting Collette’s independence. Denise Gough playing Missy, Colette’s supporter and romantic lover. Tomlinson was wonderful as Colette’s first lesbian lover who was also Willy’s lover. Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland wrote a pointed and well-defined screenplay. Westmoreland did a good job of setting up wonderful scenes and sets that exemplified the era of the late 1800’s.
Overall: Using Knightly was inspired casting choice as she brought a lot of life and intelligence to this role.