Cert 15 112mins Stars 3
Keira Knightley teases a taste for scandal among Parisian high society in this handsome period biopic set in a bohemian swirl of celebrity, fashion and art.
It’s based on the life of famed French novelist, Gabrielle Colette, a poor country girl swept off to Paris by her rampant, exploitative and bullying older husband, played by an exuberant Dominic West in an alarming goatee beard.
They’re a great double act and especially good at essaying the fluctuating power within their relationship and the conflict caused by his publishing her racy novels under his name.
But Colette’s convention-challenging lifestyle is protected by her status, meaning much of her behaviour is consequence-free and so sadly lacks drama.
Kudos to Knightley for choosing a complex leading role which challenges the sympathies of the audience, but her talent is let down by a plodding pace and an unfocused script which resorts to spicing things up with a couple of steamy scenes with Poldark’s Eleanor Tomlinson.