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Colette 2018



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About Colette 💬

  • Based on a true story.

Keira Knightly leads this timely film about the struggles of the avant-garde French novelist, COLETTE; a story that resonates in the era of female empowerment.

Short Synopsis: After marrying a successful Parisian writer known commonly as ''Willy'' (Dominic West), Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Keira Knightley) is transplanted from her childhood home in rural France to the intellectual and artistic splendor of Paris. Soon after, Willy convinces Colette to ghostwrite for him. She pens a semi-autobiographical novel about a witty and brazen country girl named Claudine, sparking a bestseller and a cultural sensation. After its success, Colette and Willy become the talk of Paris and their adventures inspire additional Claudine novels. Colette's fight over creative ownership defies gender roles and drives her to overcome societal constraints, revolutionizing literature, fashion, and sexual expression.

Long Synopsis: Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette is a young woman from the provinces whose life changes after she becomes engaged to a wealthy man of letters from Paris - Henri Gauthier-Villars, known by the single name ''Willy'' (Dominic West). After their wedding, Colette is thrust into the metropolitan life of Paris in all its fin-de-siècle glory. She tries to adapt to her new bourgeois life but her confidence in the marriage is shattered when she learns that Willy is a philanderer. She confronts him and returns to the country in disgust, but Willy woos her back with promises that in the future their marriage will be more of a partnership.

Soon after their return to Paris, Willy presses Colette to write a novel about her country schoolgirl days. She pens a novel entitled Claudine at School, about a feisty, savvy young woman, ''Claudine,'' who is essentially the first literary incarnation of the modern teenager. Initially unimpressed with her writing, Willy declares the book ''too feminine'' and stashes it away. It is only after they fall on hard times that he rediscovers the manuscripts and manages to get them published under his own name.

Claudine is an immediate sensation and soon becomes the most popular book in all of France. Willy uses the success to create a line of ancillary merchandise: Claudine cigarettes, Claudine perfume, Claudine soap, and Claudine dresses. He creates a brand. In turn, Colette and Willy effectively become the first modern celebrity couple - the toast of the Belle Époque. But at the core of their relationship, the dark secret of the book's true authorship smolders.

Upon meeting Georgie Raoul-Duval (Eleanor Tomlinson), a wayward Southern belle full of flirtatious charm, Colette explores her attraction to women and embarks on a passionate affair with Georgie. Willy's own interest complicates matters when he begins to see Georgie behind Colette's back. Justice is served when Colette writes the next Claudine novel, penning a thinly-disguised account of the entire event, including Willy's betrayal, for the world to see - and to gossip about.

At the premiere of the theatrical version of Claudine, Colette meets the Marquise de Belbeuf, or ''Missy'' (Denise Gough), a non-conforming aristocrat who wears men's clothes and embraces a masculine identity. They form a relationship and, emboldened by Missy's example, Colette challenges Willy, fighting for ownership of her creative voice and ultimately her freedom.


For almost two decades now, Colette has fascinated and inspired the Yorkshire-born Westmoreland. For Westmoreland, the literary icon's own story - particularly those years when she could not even publish under her own name - would itself become a cinematic destination. ''For many years I worked with my partner Richard Glatzer, developing scripts and directing together,'' he says. ''We were co-writers, co-directors, and life partners. It was around 1999, Richard started reading a lot of Colette - both her fiction and various biographies - and he got me reading her too. We realized there was a great movie in there, especially if you focus on her first marriage: It was a really pivotal time, the beginning of the modern age - a tectonic shift was happening in gender roles; women were demanding more power in all areas of life and men were resisting, with all their might. All that seemed to be represented through this marriage of two tremendous characters: Colette and Willy.''

''She would make life decisions that were astonishingly radical,'' states Westmoreland. ''Going onstage was a way of claiming her voice. She exposed a breast in the play Flesh at a time when women were still debating whether to show some ankle. Colette was fearless.''

''Here was a woman well ahead of her time.''

Wash Westmoreland

In her old age, Colette remarked, ''What a wonderful life I've had. I only wish I'd realized it sooner.''

Colette Movie Details 🎥

Directed by

Wash Westmoreland

Writing Credits

Wash Westmoreland, Rebecca Lenkiewicz and Richard Glatzer (Screenplay)

Richard Glatzer (Story)


Keira Knightley

Dominic West

Eleanor Tomlinson

Denise Gough

Fiona Shaw

Robert Pugh

Dickie Beau

Ray Panthaki

Al Weaver

Shannon Tarbet

Rebecca Root

Arabella Weir

Aiysha Hart

Sloan Thompson

Johnny K. Palmer

Máté Haumann

Virág Bárány

Janine Harouni

Jake Graf

Joe Geary

Julian Wadham

Polina Litvak

Roderick Hill

Attila C. Arpa

Caroline Boulton

Masayoshi Haneda

Dorcas Coppin

Music by

Thomas Adès

Cinematography by

Giles Nuttgens

Genres: Biography, Drama, History

Countries: United Kingdom, United States

Colette Official Trailer

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