“Colette”: A Proper English Film About a Transgressive French Writer

I hate it when British directors treat other countries their films are set in like it was an English colony. The latest offense, Colette, about the early literary life of the most popular French woman writer of the 20th century, stars Kiera Knightley and other British thespians speaking in high tone English accents. No one even attempts a French accent. To add insult to injury Colette writes in French but translates it into English. Director Wash Westmoreland doesn’t even bother with proper English subtitles.

Kiera Knightley does a nice job of showing Colette’s growing feminist consciousness and risqué bisexuality. Any woman who can throw off the shackles of male artistic appropriation and proudly reclaim her voice in front of a frowning world deserves all the accolades she can get.

Still, the problem remains that this most French of subjects is dealt with in the most formal English Masterpiece Theater way. Colette needs a good spanking and a nice Café au lait not a proper cup of tea and some polite clothed sex.

The only thing truly French In Colette, is the fashions.

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