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3.5 out of 5 stars16
3.5 out of 5 stars
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2010
Coco Avant Chanel is a charming biographical film about the early life of Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel, tracing her early years from childhood abandoment at a convent, through to her time as a mistress of wealthy men. Coco Avant Chanel would be just an ordinary art house biopic except for the charming performance of the always lovely Audrey Tantou. As expected the look of the movie is wonderful. The costumes are especially well done and I loved the fact that the costume designer gave Chanel's early experiments with her personal style the feel of being handmade and improvised instead of being finished costumes. After all, this movie isn't just about Chanel's early love affairs but also dipictes of the evolution of the personal style of arguably fashion's great innovator. The film richly deserved the Oscar nomination for costume design.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2010
I purchased this Blue Ray for my wife's birthday not for myself. I must admit that I was expecting to be bored but when I sat down to watch it with my wife I was not, I found the movie held my interest all the way through. I found myself thinking "how is she going to go from this situation to become rich & famous". Well I found out, the beginning of it anyway.
The name was familiar to me, mostly from Chanel #5 I think, but I had no idea who she really was or her background (or age), & while I cannot speak to the historical accuracy the story was really fascinating.
Audrey Tatou's performance was outstanding, not at all the type of "cute" role I have seen her in before, but she pulled it off well. I like period films & I really enjoyed this. Out of 10 I would rate it a 8-9.

Be careful which edition you buy. Mistakenly I got the French edition with English subtitles. Since I read fast it was OK but subtitles really turn some people off so be careful, Amazon's decription is not too clear on this point.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2014
Very good adaptation of Coco Chanel's life, from an orphanage with her sister - through relationships, she showed determination to be independent and confident in herself and her talent. Audrey is such a fun actress to watch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2013
The movie portrayed the times and challenges of her time with gracefullness and (it appears) with honesty. Audrey is always awsome! But we don't see her - we see Coco
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2014
Audrey does a great job and portrays Coco as a much nicer person than she is known to be. Beautiful photography.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2014
A classic! Audrey Tautou is wonderful!!!! A good one to see time and again.
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on September 7, 2015
Not what I expected. Listing says bilingual French, English. It should say Language : French (English subtitles) as bilingual implies both. I returned it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Directed by Anne Fontaine
Starring Audrey Tautou, Benoît Poelvoorde and Alessandro Nivola
110 minutes
French language with optional English subtitles

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

French: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Subtitles: English (optional)

This is a film about individuality more than anything. There are elements of romance and some observations on how people use each other, but it's really about how a young woman chooses to be who she wants to be rather than who she's expected to be.

The film opens in a music hall setting with Coco (Tautou) singing a duet with her sister. Wealthy men use the place as a hunting ground for mistresses or prostitutes. Coco befriends Etienne Balsan, who is much older than her, but offers her the chance to spend time with a higher social class. She mixes with his upper class friends and is at first ridiculed and described as a boy because of the clothes she wears. She doesn't buy into the trend of wearing traditional dresses, corsets, giant hats or clothes designed to show off her body. She chooses an almost masculine style that's very plain by comparison.

She eventually gains a kind of acceptance and befriends an actress (Emmanuelle Devos) who takes her advice about what to wear.

Coco is not content to spend her days subservient to the idle rich and wants to work. This is frowned upon by her snooty acquaintances, but she's determined to pursue her own course.

The film shows how friendships can develop in unlikely situations and includes a romance between Coco and Boy (Nivola), who is genuinely touched by her.

I guess that all sounds a bit girly, doesn't it? Well, like Coco, I follow my own path and like what I like.

The highlight of the film is the performance of Audrey Tautou. I've been enchanted by her in a number of films such as Amelie, A Very Long Engagement, He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, The DaVinci Code and Dirty Pretty Things. She was the perfect choice for the part because she's somewhat similar to Coco in that she follows her own path. Not what most people consider attractive, but incredibly beautiful. Her face is capable of showing so much emotion. She can transition from pure joy to sorrow. If she had chosen to work in English-speaking roles, she would probably be a huge star with multiple awards. Again, she was the perfect choice for the role.

The Blu-ray is in the native French and offers the choice to see the film with or without subtitles. The presentation is decent and really comes alive in the shots of the French countryside.

I wouldn't recommend this film to everyone. It's not for those who need thrills or action in every scene. It moves slowly and is quite thought provoking. I found it fascinating and a surprisingly plausible account of Coco's early life.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2011
I am a huge Coco Chanel fan: I read all the books, watch all the movies, visited her store in Paris... And as such, I enjoyed the film, as it tells the part of the story she tried so hard to hide most of her life, as she thought people would think less of her is they knew she had grown up in poverty and that her first contact with high society was as a kept-woman.

However, the movie glosses over some details and muddies the story a bit. For example, Adrienne was not her sister, but her aunt; she also did not simply turn up at Royalieu... But I can see how for the sake of film-making, such things have to be tweaked a bit.

Benoît Poelvoorde is irresitible as the bon-vivant, silly Etienne de Balsan. I found him hilarious, adorable and irritating all at once.

My only problem is really the casting of Tautou as the title role. Yes, she delivers a good performance, but I felt she was too cute for the character of Chanel, who was a much tougher woman than the feeling we get from the petite and delicate Audrey. As such, when she acts tough, it doesn't feel completely natural.

In short, I'd say it's a sweet and entertaining movie, but as most movies about Chanel, I wished it focused more on other aspects of her life than her many lovers. I would also recommend watching "Coco & Igor"([...]), which takes place right at the ending point of "Coco Avant Chanel". It's really beautiful!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Audrey Tautou is again fabulous onscreen as the tough as nails independent Coco Chanel. the movie follows her life right up to the point where she decides to actually become a fashion designer.

The sets look terrific and the acting throughout is superb. The ridiculous addition of a fictitious character who plays Coco's sister (in the extars you learn she's an amalgam of Coco's aunt and one of her sisters) to show Coco's gentle side was just plain silly. Given how dramatic Coco's life was it just seems as if the screenwriter and director fell back on some Hollywood tradition of thinking the actual true story of famous people's lives are not enough. The funny thing is this comes out of France of all places.

The extras feature lengthy interviews with the cast and crew. The version I had were the hearing impaired ones that had the various stage movements (i.e., [door closes], [footsteps heard], etc.) along with the subtitles.
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