As Colette, Knightley rapidly evolves from sheltered country girl to fearless denizen of the boudoirs and stages of Paris. As her husband Henri “Willy” Gauthier-Villars, West bursts with bombastic exuberance as the entrepreneurial author and critic who shamelessly co-opted (ie stole) the work of other writers under his own byline. Including making a fortune from Colette’s Claudine novels, promptly squandering the earnings while perpetually womanizing and doubly flirting with bankruptcy.
Lush costume designs and vivid colours bring passion to the visuals as alluring as the leads’ vivacious performances. Knightley delivers reliable work as Colette, most effectively portraying her character's maturation from manipulated maiden to uncompromising feminist icon. As Colette explores her own sense of gender identity, Knightley carries off her character's coolness with real and delicious ease.
As it dutifully unfolds, Richard Glatzer’s sturdy, structured screenplay brings Colette's life into shining relief as a champion for women who are no longer willing to quietly allow men steal credit for their achievements. A refreshing take on a well-worn tale. (Research Chris Coetsee) And… Keira is ultra fab. Come and see, and stop being irritated.