Movie Review | Colette
Movie summary: Colette is pushed by her husband to write novels under his name. Upon their success, she fights to make her talents known, challenging gender norms. (IMDb)
This is going to be a short one because there's honestly very little to say about Colette - and what little there is to talk about isn't very interesting thanks to how dull the whole thing is. I genuinely had to check the time at one point because I just wanted it to be over, and saw a few others doing the same. Colette is not a fun time at the movies.
And that's the biggest shame, because it really should be, but this feels like the most chaste and uninteresting way possible of telling a story that contains as many 'sex scenes' as Colette does. I say 'sex scenes', because there's no nudity and there's nothing sexy about them at all - honestly, a marginally more harsh edit and this film drops down to a 12A from its actual 15 rating.
I do wonder if part of the problem is Keira Knightley. Going into this, I never expected her to appear naked, but I also didn't expect the movie to have as many 'sex scenes' as it does. Now, this film might not get made without the queen period drama, but she never feels like the right choice to play the role of someone whose sexuality is such a key part of the story.
The problem with having a star that is never going to take her clothes off in a movie where her character has so much sex is that the camera is restricted in what it can show and how it can move, making scenes that should be the most passionate and energetic of the entire movie feel stilted and lifeless - and standing out in contrast to all the other scenes in the movie too.
It all results in the title character feel completely inauthentic regardless of how hard Knightley might be trying. This schizophrenic nature of the film acts as a constant reminder that what you're watching is a movie - no-one really acts like an actual person and it all feels amateurish and unmemorable. Compared to something like The Handmaiden, Colette does not look good at all.
The movie isn't helped by there being very little else to recommend about it, with it looking no better than a regular BBC period drama you might see on a Sunday night and a score that adds absolutely nothing either. Genuinely, this is one of those times you'll finish a movie and wonder why this wasn't just made as a throwaway effort to fill the schedule on the small screen.
Colette suffers from taking what feels like the wrong approach to the actual woman's story it is trying to tell, rendering what should have a complex, fascinating tale into a dry, by the numbers affair that - at best - might make someone look up the real Colette and realise they'd wasted their time watching this movie.
Colette is boring more than anything, with nothing to lift it above the average period drama you'd see filmed for TV other than its leading lady. And, while she might well be the reason this film even got made, Knightley is just miscast in what should have been an intriguing, provocative role.