Coco avant Chanel

Coco avant Chanel

DVD - 2010 | French
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Years after being abandoned at an orphanage by her father, Gabrielle Chanel finds a job in a tailor shop where she meets, and soon begins an affair with French millionaire Etienne Balsan. Through Baron Balsan she is introduced into French society and given the opportunity to design her own style of hats. Though her career takes off, her personal life becomes more complicated when she falls in love with Balsan's former best friend Arthur Capel.

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Nursebob
Apr 18, 2017

Celebrated couturier Gabriel Bonheur aka “Coco Chanel” (1883 - 1971) was a pioneer on at least two levels—she was the first female to make a dent in what was then a male-dominated profession and her edgy sense of style practically defined women’s haute couture for decades. She was also an ambitious businesswoman and patron of the arts who courted some scandal during WWII for her dalliances with the German occupiers. But watching Anne Fontaine’s drab, lifeless biopic you get the impression of a mousy depressive with a taste for straw hats and unavailable men who stumbled upon fashion design when she was bored one afternoon. Beginning with a ten-year old Gabriel and her sister being dropped off at an orphanage by their penniless father, and then proceeding through her early years as a saloon singer, seamstress, and mistress to a boorish millionaire before ending on a lavish mirrored runway, Fontaine offers little insight and no emotional connection whatsoever but rather gives us a pedestrian Masterpiece Theatre rendering of an enigmatic person whose legacy certainly deserved more than a cursory melodrama. Lead actress Audrey Tautou (Amélie) does bear an uncanny resemblance to Chanel but aside from a few fierce words and that permanent scowl her performance lacks the fire one would expect from a woman who seemingly broke taboos as casually as she hemmed a skirt—in an age where appearances meant everything she took on more than one lover and defied fashion conventions with her masculine togs. The rest of the cast offer up readings as lacklustre as the dull countryside cinematography—attempts to disparage France’s idle rich as a bunch of shallow deviants elicit little more than a yawn and Coco’s “passionate” affair with a British opportunist not even that—but at least Catherine Leterrier’s Oscar-nominated costume designs add a splash of much needed colour and sophistication.

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kyc14
Feb 18, 2017

somehow the film info has neglected to list the director's name, anne fontaine. her other film "gemma bovery" is also an interesting effort to tell a story from a feminine perspective.

l
lsmir
Dec 13, 2016

An interesting look at the less known time of Chanel's life. There is no spectacular fashion, as one might expect, but the looks shown portray well how far the designer has come in these formative years. Good acting and atmosphere add to the overall effect.

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westcoasty
Dec 08, 2016

Audrey Tautou did an excellent job as Coco. I feel the movie's biggest flaw is that it had to cover a number of years in a short period of time, and as such left me with several unanswered questions. I also would have liked more exploration of her emotions at certain times in the film, but perhaps that is my Hollywood conditioning and not a flaw of the film. I did enjoy seeing how Coco moved from living in poverty to becoming a fashion icon by virtue of her courage and willingness to make opportunities where seemingly none existed.

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MmeG
Jul 21, 2016

It is a good biography of Coco Channel's early life. Do not expect anything else but the events of her life. You cannot compare this movie to americanised biographies. Audrey Tautou rend justesse à une femme célèbre comme Coco Channel.

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ThomasJWhiting
Nov 11, 2015

Okay, but didn't really draw me in - not sure why.

LOTS of cigarette smoking; maybe they should have had tobacco warnings before the film, like they do in some Hindi/Indian movies...

d2013 Oct 09, 2015

Audrey Tautou was great as Coco Chanel who went from rags to riches. An interesting account of her early life.

b
booksmile
Sep 04, 2015

Found it depressing. She was financially dependent on men for most of the film (and sometimes having sex when she didn't want it)---her later years and fashions would have made a better story.

ezaminpaima Jun 22, 2015

Great movie! Audrey Tautou, an amazing actress, always brings her best in the roles that she plays. It is intriguing to see how Coco Chanel fought her way from poverty to upper class society.

g
gemini07
Feb 15, 2013

What an amazing woman she was. I learnt so much about her life and the norms women at the time had to live with. Not only were her fashions progressive, but also the many things she accomplished as a woman, especially a woman with very few options due to social status and economic means. Fascinating. Well acted by Audry Tatou.

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mbazal
Jul 20, 2011

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

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Teyfor8Wyoma
Jul 03, 2011

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

nadian May 01, 2010

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

nadian May 01, 2010

Coarse Language: Some

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mbazal
Jul 20, 2011

mbazal thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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Teyfor8Wyoma
Jul 03, 2011

Teyfor8Wyoma thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

nadian May 01, 2010

nadian thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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mbazal
Jul 20, 2011

Several years after leaving the orphanage to which her father never returned for her, Gabrielle Chanel finds herself working in a provincial bar both. She's both a seamstress for the performers and a singer, earning the nickname Coco from the song she sings nightly with her sister. A liaison with Baron Balsan gives her an entree into French society and a chance to develop her gift for designing increasingly popular hats. When she falls in love with English businessman Arthur Capel further opportunities open up, though life becomes ever more complicated.

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mbazal
Jul 20, 2011

Étienne Balsan: A woman who cuts her hair, is about to change her life.

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