Monday, October 8, 2018

In Wash Westmoreland's bio-pic, COLETTE, Keira Knightley gets yet another "role of a lifetime"

The beautiful and talented Keira Knightley has by now had so many role-of-a-lifetime roles, in all of which she has proven superb (and quite versatile) -- Domino, Atonement, Never Let Me Go, A Dangerous Method, Begin Again, to name just a few -- that when yet another one comes along, as in the just-released bio-pic of the famous French writer of the early 1900s, COLETTE, we should certainly know what to expect. Once again, Ms. Knightley, shown at left, delivers the goods. She is just about everything you could ask for in the role.

The movie itself, directed and co-written (with the late Richard Glatzer and Rebecca Lenkiewicz) by Wash Westmoreland (shown at right), is quite good, as well -- gracefully and smartly directed and written with an alertness to detail and period specifics so that, although nearly everything proceeds as you will expect, everything is also brought to such intelligent and pleasurable life that you will not, I think, complain.  The movie is particularly timely, too, given its concerns with the plight of a wife of that era, taken near-complete advantage of as woman and artist by her thoughtless and entitled husband.

As played by Ms Knightley with a quiet gravitas and keen intelligence, Colette bides her time, writing successful novels attributed to her husband (played to his usual high standard by Dominic West, above), while indulging her own needs and desires until hubby's behavior at last goes past the point of tolerable.

Adventures here include those with an American ex-pat Southern belle (nicely limned by Elinor Tomlinson, above), who is attracted to both husband and wife; time spent acting and dancing with a theater troupe; and finally an erotic and deeply emotional relationship with a cross-dressing woman of unusual strength and perspicacity (a terrific Denise Gough, below).

Westmoreland's movie manages to be entirely pleasurable and intelligent, elegantly moving from scene to scene, with pacing that never lags and visuals that charm the eye. This is certainly the director's most beautiful (and probably costly) endeavor.

And while the film is absolutely au courant regarding feminism and woman's rights, there is never a need to push anything too adamantly, as all is built right into the story and period. Sets and costumes are first-class, as are all the performances, too -- including the great Fiona Shaw as Colette's perceptive and encouraging mother.

Some viewers, given the permissive age we live in, might expect racier and more explicit sex scenes and nudity. These can be perfectly OK in their place, but they're unnecessary here. The movie comes through just fine as is, and "as is" proves very good indeed.

From Bleecker Street and running 111 minutes, Colette, after opening on both coasts three weeks ago, and in other major cities over the two weeks following, will finally open everywhere else this Friday, October 12 -- including South Florida where it will play the Miami area at the AMC Sunset Place 24 and Aventura 24, the CMX Brickell City Center 10, the O Cinema Miami Beach and Regal's South Beach; in Broward at The Classic Gateway and the Cinemark Paradise 24; and in Palm Beach County at the Regal Shadowood 16, Living Room Theaters, Cinemark Palace 20, AMC City Place 20, Movies of Delray and Lake Worth, Cinemark Boynton Beach 14, Downtown at the Mall Gardens Palm 16, Cinepolis Jupiter 14, AMC Indian River 24.

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