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TIFF 2018: The Feminist Firebrand That Is Colette


Keira Knightley is Colette. - TIFF
  • TIFF
  • Keira Knightley is Colette.
Approaching the lavish, big-screen biopic Colette, audiences would naturally expect lush set designs, gorgeous costumes and a titillating story following the celebrated author who was "le scandale" of Paris at the turn of the 20th century. And while the film checks all of those boxes, it is also one of the most fiery feminist films of this or any year. Indeed, Colette is a must-see as award season approaches; and you can expect plenty of Oscar buzz for Keira Knightley, who lights up the screen in the title role.

  • Phillip Faraone Getty Images for TIFF
  • Keira Knightley
History tells us that Gabrielle Colette was the author of the wildly fabulous Claudine series of novels from 1900 through 1903, but her husband, Henry Gauthier-Villars (played by the splendid Dominic West), claimed all of the credit, attaching his own pen name, "Willy," to each of the Claudine books.

As you might hope, Colette is the extremely engaging story of a woman living in the ironically named "modern age" who reclaims her intellectual property, not to mention her voice. But this new film directed and co-written by Wash Westmoreland (Still Alice) pushes her story even further, with a fully-realized, R-rated treatise that one can only presume the real Colette would have approved of.

After debuting earlier this year at Sundance and scoring a prime slot at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it will be showcased on Tuesday, Sept. 11, Colette has already attracted some of the best critic's notices of the year. Variety wrote, "Colette ranks as one of the great roles for which Keira Knightley will be remembered," and wrote, "Colette is the feminist biopic we need." I couldn't agree more. Look for it coming to North American theaters this fall.