Coco avant Chanel
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Une petite fille du centre de la France, placée dans un orphelinat avec sa soeur, et qui attend en vain tous les dimanches que son père vienne les chercher. Une chanteuse de beuglant à la voix trop faible, qui affronte un public de soldats éméchés. Une petite couturière destinée à refaire des ourlets dans l''arrière-boutique d''un tailleur de province. Une apprentie-courtisane au corps trop maigre, qui trouve refuge chez son protecteur Etienne Balsan, parmi les cocottes et les fêtards. Une amoureuse qui sait qu''elle ne sera " la femme de personne ", pas même celle de Boy Capel, l''homme qui pourtant l''aimait aussi. Une rebelle que les conventions de l''époque empêchent de respirer, et qui s''habille avec les chemises de ses amants. C''est l''histoire de Coco Chanel, qui incarna la femme moderne avant de l''inventer.
Before she became Coco, the world-famous fashion designer, Gabrielle Chanel (Audrey Tautou in a fiercely determined performance) struggled to make ends meet. After her mother's death, her father deposited her and her sister, Adrienne (Marie Gillain), at an orphanage, where they learned to sew (and where Chanel developed a taste for monochromatic ensembles). They went on to become cabaret singers, but when Adrienne runs off with a wealthy suitor, the newly christened Coco must go it alone until she meets gentleman farmer Étienne Balsan (Benoît Poelvoorde). She lives comfortably at his chateau, but he refuses to take her out in public, so she puts her skills as a seamstress to good use and designs outfits for his lady friends, like Emilienne (Emmanuelle Devos), an actress. Chanel's situation improves further when British investor Arthur "Boy" Capel (Alessandro Nivola with an impeccable French accent) enters the scene. Her working-class origins present less of a problem with Capel, though the couple will have other issues with which to contend. In the meantime, he gives her the money to open her own Parisian studio, and the film ends with the tweed suit-clad Chanel of the popular imagination. Until that time, writer-director Anne Fontaine (The Girl from Monaco) presents a very different character, a woman who wasn't worldly or sophisticated, but who saw no reason why fashion--or "style," as she called it--should be complicated or uncomfortable. In transforming herself, Coco Chanel transformed an entire industry and, arguably, an entire gender. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Starring Audrey Tautou, Benoît Poelvoorde and Alessandro Nivola
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?Read more ›
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!
Most recent customer reviews
It says it's bilingual but it's not, only french! I'm returning it.Published 23 months ago by Ioniehtenhawi
I was sadly disappointed when I put this Blu-ray disk in my machine tonight because it had NO ENGLISH TRANSLATION of any kind!! Read morePublished on Oct. 22 2013 by Maxisback