Coco Chanel (Audrey Tautou) rises from modest beginnings as a seamstress to the top the Parisian fashion world, where her designs change the look of the 20th-century woman.
" Director Anne Fontaine is at her strongest when she's aiding and abetting Chanel's all-seeing gaze. "
" The film, understandably, leaves you wanting more about the rest of the designer's life, but Coco Before Chanel is wisely focused on those years in which she became herself. "
" Coco Before Chanel only starts to get interesting when she asserts her creative and financial freedom -- and that's right when the movie's about to end. "
" The film, although sumptuously produced, is a staid and conventional account of her early years. "
" One can see where the story might be of great interest to fans and devotees of Chanel, but for casual viewers who have never seen her as more than the face behind an empire, there's too little in this movie to provide more than a casual diversion. "
" The movie is most fascinating when it shows how Chanel communicated her enlightened sense of womanhood through her innovative designs, which in turn helped women feel differently about themselves. "
" The film is unfailingly funny. "
" Tautou's sophisticated portrayal won't allow viewers to dismiss Coco as kept. Coco's talents are too pronounced, her approach to intimacy, to life, too aware for that. "
" Although technically a biopic based on a nonfiction book by Edmonde Charles-Roux, Coco Before Chanel plays more like an engrossing, classy period piece. "
" The movie does a good job of presenting the social strictures that Chanel refused to be bound by, none more immediate and ubiquitous than the clothes women were expected to wear. "
" The film loses some of its fascination when Coco is unmistakably launched on her career path. But that's when the story ends; this is titled Coco Before Chanel for a reason. "
" It would seem that Fontaine has a keener eye for the elements that made Chanel's style than she has an ear for dialogue. But she gets a splendid performance from Tautou. "
" This refreshing alternative to the usual potted biopic provides an absorbing look at a singular, steely determination as it was forged and annealed, long before it made itself known to the world. "
" The thread connecting the ambitious girl to the acclaimed woman is enough to make us wish for a sequel titled Chanel No. 2. "
" Coco Chanel is not the most lovable of heroines, but it's a strength of the film that director Anne Fontaine allows Tautou to make Coco as cold and ungiving as she does. "
" A more conventional movie would work this love triangle to maximum pathos. Fontaine sees it as simply part of the Chanel construct, and Tautou is completely in tune with her. "
" We are used to seeing Tautou play the sweetheart. Here, she's anything but. Constantly smoking, dour, unsmiling, critical, she plays a character difficult to warm to but fascinating to watch. "
" A movie that is tres chic even if it sometimes resembles those corsets Coco banished, a little stiff and confining. "
" I wish Fontaine would follow up with a sequel: Coco After Chanel. Tautou's performance cries out for a second act. "
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