Over the weekend I finally had a chance to see the long-awaited Coco Avant Chanel. It’s always exciting when a film opens in the UK before it does in the US, as is rarely the case. The astonishingly beautiful Audrey Tautou, best known for her role in the 2001 French film Amelie, is mesmerizing as Gabriel ‘Coco’ Chanel.
I have been thinking about Anne Fontaine’s beautiful biopic all weekend, trying to get my head around the portrayal of the young woman who would become the grande dame of 20th-century couture.
Like many, I have long been fascinated by Chanel’s fragility, power and resolve. No question she was tenacious and very clever. The fact that, “She made up things up”, the first sentence from Axel Madsen’s book Chanel: A Woman of Her Own, hooked me immediately. She fabricated life to a point that her official biographer gave up in frustration because she would not admit to the most readily verified facts, including her time in the orphanage.
Without a doubt, the cinematography is stunning and the film is highly entertaining. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone that is a fan of Chanel; however, I personally felt that it never really conveyed the great lengths she went to in order to create her life story. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the film was made with the collaboration of the house of Chanel.
Coco Avant Chanel will be playing stateside September 25th. I look forward to hearing thoughts from all the American readers next month. You can read a fantastic review written by my friend and journalist Alison Kerr.
By Ronda Carman