15 August 2009

Coco Avant Chanel

Last night I watched Coco Avant Chanel, and after thinking about it all night and all day, have decided that I like the movie, and think it's a good movie, even though I found it slow in parts. It's an Audrey Tautou vehicle through and through, and this unlikely star can certainly hold a picture. Ms Tatou is lovely to watch, even as she plays Chanel as an unsympathetic, difficult, avaricious and steely. One certainly doesn't come away liking Chanel one jot better. For you fashion folk, this isn't the kind of movie you think it is, so don't get into a foam just yet. It's about the unglamourous period in Chanel's life and how she claws out of the swamp, to become the icon we all now worship. It's a somber, humourless take and unflinchingly sordid, as Chanel sleeps her way out of a rural orphanage on her way to rue Cambon. I'm grateful that the tawdry hasn't been glossed over, and it's certainly an unsentimental re-telling of a familiar tale. Not much fashion actually goes on, as the movie concentrates on the love triangle between Chanel, her first patron, Etienne Balsan, and the English playboy Boy Capel (Alessandro Nivola, who's quite cute). It's an adult treatment of this theme, and very French, but one wants to see fashion! Not this to-and-fro between two daddy types. Personally, I couldn't care less.
It's a beautifully made film however, and the costumes are impeccable (Tatou was dressed by Karl Lagerfeld) and that could be enough reason for you girls to go watch it, of course.

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