Film, Drama
4 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
(3user reviews)

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Keira Knightley is magnetic in a Paris-set period drama with a dollop of queer feminist energy.

Based on the true story of the French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Keira Knightley), Wash Westmoreland plunges us into the literary scene of turn-of-the-century Paris. Almost immediately his camera casts a critical eye on this setting. Rather than a place of vibrancy, he portrays a world of shallow pretension and opportunism, the ideal habitat for Colette’s careerist husband Wily (Dominic West), who publishes her sapphic stories under his own name.

The entire film revolves around the relationship between West and Knightley.  It is a joy to watch Colette grow in confidence, mirroring the way many young women free themselves from the yoke of mediocre men, and Knightley nails that transition. On the other end of the spectrum, West’s turn as Willy is a surprisingly subtle study of a man who attempts to mask his deep insecurities through a theatrical bluster. West manages to imbue this character with some sympathy without absolving him of his numerous faults.

Admittedly it takes a while to rev up, but as Colette begins to explore her identity as a queer woman the film begins to take flight. Knightley, whose career was somewhat defined by the billowy gowns of British period drama, wears her increasingly androgynous wardrobe in ‘Colette’ with a refreshing bravado, and Andrea Flesch’s work as costume designer is easily the highlight.

By: Cathy Brennan



Release details

Release date:
Friday January 11 2019
108 mins

Cast and crew

Wash Westmoreland
Wash Westmoreland, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Richard Glatzer
Keira Knightley
Dominic West
Eleanor Tomlinson
Denise Gough

Users say (3)

3 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

3.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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An unremarkable film, mildly interesting and extremely well acted.  The start of the film was so slow, boredom was setting in.  The more interesting part of the story began when "Colette" became a true Parisian and succumbed to the lifestyle.  Maybe her behaviour was outrageous in her day, but not so much today.  Really, nothing remarkable happens and I'm unsure why this character was chosen to be portrayed on film.


A well made bi op of the life & times of the French writer Colette . A "sensational" period piece, which examines her unconventional life style. Of course her story is not at all sensational for today's audience. Although the film has been made with care, and has good performances from both Keira Knightley & Dominic West,  I didn't really find it that interesting. I just wish there had been more about her & work, & a bit less emphasis on her sex life.


Colette was such an interesting character and you could really see her evolve throughout the film despite always having a bit of moxy about her early on, she was very much in the shadows of her husband Willy and it was inspiring to see how this changed throughout the film and refreshing to see Colette's open mindedness and forward thinking particularly in the period the film was set. Definitely worth a watch!