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Dominic West stars as Willy and Keira Knightley as Colette.

Robert Viglasky/Courtesy of Elevation

  • Colette
  • Directed by Wash Westmoreland
  • Written by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland
  • Starring Keira Knightley and Dominic West
  • Classification 14A; 111 minutes

rating

3 out of 4 stars

Colette is definitely a heroine for our times. Locked in her writing room by the philandering husband who claimed credit for her bestselling Claudine novels, she eventually escaped with a transgender man.

Denise Gough stars as Missy and Keira Knightley as Colette.

Robert Viglasky/Courtesy of Elevation

It’s easy then to tell the French writer’s stormy story for contemporary audiences, which is not to say that director Wash Westmoreland and actress Keira Knightley don’t do it rather well in this lively movie about Colette during the Willy years.

She marries the critic, journalist and man-about-town when she is only 20, but rapidly establishes herself as the most profitable pen in his factory of ghost writers while responding to his infidelity by exploring her own bisexuality. Hats off, too, to an ebullient Dominic West, who makes the parasitical Willy charming enough that you can see why a young woman might stick with him.

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Colette is a satisfyingly conventional biopic about a highly unconventional woman.

Colette opens Sept. 28 in Toronto, Oct. 12 in Vancouver

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