Friday, January 26, 2018

Sundance with Abe: Colette

I’m thrilled to be attending and covering the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah for the fifth time. I’m seeing as many movies as I can each day and will post reviews of each as I can.

Directed by Wash Westmoreland

Some people are both into the wrong generation. The way that they see the world is very different from the way their contemporaries view it, and it can be a struggle to accept the way things are. Standing up for forward-thinking beliefs that stand in direct contrast to the way that the society of their day operates is not easy, and working up the courage to do so can take years. Their impact may not be felt until long after their death, or at least not be truly understood for the remarkable achievement that it was in a time that such behavior wasn’t thought possible.

Keira Knightley, Wash Westmoreland, and Dominic West discuss the film

Colette (Keira Knightley) is first introduced as a young bride coming from the countryside of France to metropolitan Paris to live with her famous husband, the eccentric author Willy (Dominic West). What seemed like an exciting, lavish life quickly turns to one of unnecessary excess and grandstanding from her husband, who depends greatly upon her for his success. When he encourages her to write stories, they become incredible hits across the country, creating great business for the esteemed Willy brand but offering Colette no recognition for all of her work, something that eventually becomes unacceptable for her to bear, setting her on a new course that will cement her place in history.

Keira Knightley discusses the film

A woman being subject to a domineering husband who takes all the credit for what she does is nothing new, and it’s the responsibility of this film to make its story individually interesting. Fortunately, it succeeds in grand fashion, convincingly conveying the dynamic between Colette and Willy and then charting her journey to making a name for herself in inventive ways that can set her apart from the man whose most famous works were actually been produced almost in their entirety by her.

Dominic West discusses the film

Knightley is no stranger to well-decorated period dramas, and this performance allows her to blend in with her surroundings and then come alive as an unforgettable and immutable individual. It’s a performance that could well earn her a well-deserved Oscar nomination. West is wonderfully despicable as usual, making Willy a man of all talk and no action. This is a stirring drama that moves much quicker than many other period pieces – including others playing at this year’s Sundance Film Festival – with great set pieces and costumes. Ultimately, this film, from “Still Alice” director Wash Westmoreland, is driven by Knightley and her strong portrayal of the title character, a very worthwhile subject of her own story.


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