Blu-ray Review: Colette

STUDIO: Universal | DIRECTOR: Wash Westmoreland | CAST: Keira Knightley, Dominic West, Denise Goth, Eleanor Tomlinson
RELEASE DATE: Dec. 11, 2018 | PRICE: DVD $14.99, Blu-ray $27.60
BONUSES: featurette, deleted scenes, photo gallery
SPECS: R | 111 min. | Biographical drama | 1.85:1 widescreen | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1/Dolby Digital 5.1 | subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

In the handsome and smart costume drama Colette, which is filled with no shortage of links to contemporary issues, Kiera Knightley (A Dangerous Method) plays the title character, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, a young country bumpkin courted by a suave publisher known as Willy (Dominic West, TV’s The Affair). The couple settle in Paris where the famously womanizing Willy has others crank out books for him under his namesake. With financial ruin upon them, Colette writes an autobiographical book about an amorous teenager under her husband’s name, which becomes a surprise big hit, leading Willy to force Collette to write more books for him. Complicating issues are the couple’s extra-marital affairs, which includes the two romancing the same woman (Eleanor Tomlinson, Jack the Giant Slayer), and Colette’s affair with a cross-dressing aristocrat (Denise Goth, Juliet, Naked).

The theme of taking credit for someone else’s artistic work has been a common one in movies recently, from Tim Burton’s 2014 Big Eyes to this year’s The Wife. But Colette, with its impressive late 19th Century period detail, smart script, fine performances and superb direction (by Wash Westmoreland, Still Alice) intrigues and delights in its own way. The film has an elegant sexual boldness that will surprise audiences as will the aforementioned allusions to such contemporary talking points as LGBT rights, #metoo and feminism.

At the box-office, Colette stalled at around $5 million on a limited basis, and never went beyond the 500-plus theater mark. Still, there is a certain audience for this type film—think back at Merchant-Ivory efforts and even current critic’s darling The Favourite—that can be tapped in its home market stand.

 

Buy or Rent Colette

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.