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Coco Before Chanel(Blu-ray)

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Product Overview

Audrey Tautou (The Da Vinci Code, Amelie) shines in this intriguing portrait of the early life of Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, the orphan who would build a fashion empire and be known universally by her nickname, Coco. She journeys from a mundane seamstress job to boisterous cabarets to the opulent French countryside, possessing little more than her unwavering determination, unique style and visionary talent. Also starring Benoit Poelvoorde (In His Hands) and Alessandro Nivola (Junebug). Featuring lush settings and stunning costume design, Coco Before Chanel is the gripping and dramatic story of an icon who defied convention and defined the modern woman.


Studio Sony
SKU 213575922
UPC 043396331631
UPC 14 00043396331631
Format Blu-Ray DVD
Release Date 3/6/2012
Rating Rating
Aspect Ratio
Anamorphic Widescreen  2.35:1
Name Tautou,Audrey
Link Search Link
Oscar (2010) Catherine Leterrier, Nominee, Best Achievement in Costume Design
ReviewSource Chicago Sun-Times
Review We talk about people "inventing themselves." That assumes they know who they want to invent. Coco Before Chanel begins with an abandoned orphan girl named Gabrielle, watches her grow into a music hall chanteuse, who then sidesteps prostitution by becoming a mistress. All the while from behind the clouds of her cigarettes she regards the world with unforgiving realism and stubborn ambition. She doesn't set out to become the most influential fashion icon of the 20th century. She begins by designing a hat, making a little money and striving to better herself. She wants money and independence. One suspects she would have been similarly driven if she had invented a better mousetrap and founded a home-appliance empire...The naturalism of Anne Fontaine's film would be at home in a novel by Dreiser. Her star, Audrey Tautou, who could make lovability into a career, avoids any effort to make Coco Chanel nice, soft or particularly sympathetic. Her fashions may have liberated women from the hideous excesses of the late 19th century, but she creates them not out of idealism but because they directly reflect her inalterable personality. She didn't put women in sailor shirts out of conviction. She liked to wear them...We've seen enough films about heroines carried along by the momentum of their blessed fates. That's not how it works. To the winner belongs the spoils, even if in life, you started pretty far back from the starting line. In the case of little Gabrielle and her sister Adrienne (Marie Gillain), the orphanage probably gave them better chances in life than the parents they missed. They got an education, and it's possible Chanel's fashion sense was influenced by the unadorned, severe lines of the black and white habits of the nuns. Did she start identifying simplicity in dress with women in power?...The young teenage girls break into the lowest rungs of music halls, performing songs in a duet of which it must be said their youth is more appealing than their talent. Music halls attract sugar daddies; they both size up the situation and make their choices. 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.
Reviewer Roger Ebert
ReviewRating 9
ReviewSource USA Today
Review There are hints of the fashion icon and early feminist that Coco Chanel was to become in Coco Before Chanel, though the film focuses on the period in her life just before she became a famous designer...As such, the film, directed by Anne Fontaine (The Girl From Monaco), is not an expansive biopic but a fascinating snapshot of a pivotal chapter for Chanel, her formative fashionista years...Because it's more superficially stylish than profound, Coco leaves one wanting more -- more of an in-depth examination of her complex nature, and more about the years when her simple designs captivated the fashion world...Still, the film, while scaled-down, is quite beautifully woven, like a classic Chanel tweed...At the heart of this handsomely mounted period drama are two stellar performances. Audrey Tautou plays Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel with flair, uncomplicated elegance and plucky confidence. Alessandro Nivola, an American actor playing a British businessman and speaking French, is a revelation. Given the ease with which he woos Coco in French, in the role of the charismatic but ill-fated Arthur "Boy" Capel, one would not guess he was a native English speaker...He plays the role with depth, dashing charm and intelligence. Though he has skillfully played character roles in a variety of American art-house and mainstream films (Junebug, Mansfield Park), it's a pleasure to see him shine in a major part in a foreign-language film...Coco is a respectful, measured tribute to an iconic couturier. The film spends too much time on her early dancehall days -- we hear her signature "Coco" ditty more than anyone should have to. Chanel was working on her personal re-invention as she partook of the lavish comforts offered by her benefactor and sometimes lover, Etienne Balsan (Benoit Poelvoorde)...The film might have benefited from expanding its focus to include more perspective about Chanel's metamorphosis from hat-maker to storied designer. Still, the expressive Tautou is compelling. Even as an awkward, cheeky girl, Chanel had an inherent belief in herself and her ability to transcend her origins...The archives of Maison Chanel allowed the filmmakers to peruse their collections. A concluding montage of classic Chanel fashions, presented on a bevy of models surrounding Coco as she sits casually on a stair step, is a visual delight. Coco Before Chanel is a tasteful costume drama with flashes of fascinating personal history.
Reviewer Claudia Puig
ReviewRating 7
Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 2.35:1, Dolby Digital (5.1), English, Subtitled
Product Attributes
Video Format Blu-Ray
Karina Longworth, Time Out New York Anne Fontaine's biopic transforms the designer's early life into highbrow guilty-pleasure gold.
Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor I wish Fontaine would follow up with a sequel: "Coco After Chanel." Tautou's performance cries out for a second act.
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times A superior filmed biography that brings intelligence, restraint and style to what could have been a more standard treatment.
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