Colette [2018] ★★★

Whether it’s in “Pride and Prejudice”, “Atonement” or “The Duchess”, Keira Knightley is always portraying interesting and colorful characters in period pieces. Now with “Colette”, this might be her most important role yet. Director Wash Westmoreland (who did a fine job in “Still Alice”) manages to capture the “grandiose” dreams of Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, the woman who fought gender roles in the early 1900’s and revolutionized literature. But first, we’re transported to a time when Colette was still a young woman in 1893 Saint-Sauveur, a small village in France. She meets and falls in love with an older man (Dominic West), a Parisian writer who takes her to Paris as soon as they’re married. Soon after, she starts ghostwriting for him, releasing one successful book after the other but taking no credit whatsoever. West tackles the difficult role of a self-destructive man with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, but principal acting honors go to Keira Knighley, who truly becomes Colette and makes us root for her. As someone who loves period pieces and stories about people who made a difference, I immediately warmed to this film. It’s not flawless, but it won me over completely.

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