Colette directed by Wash Westmoreland [7/10]

I came to “Colette” with only sketchy knowledge of the real-life subject, next to no interest in the types of books she wrote over the first half of the last century, and a general abhorrence of biopics. And I remained skeptical over the first half despite its fast-moving, intelligent script and a terrific performance by Dominic West as Willy, Colette’s husband and bestselling author. Occasionally the plot came across as close to lurid. But then in the second half, Keira Knightley, starring as Colette, revved up from being rather perfunctory to increasingly interesting and impassioned. Once Missy (played superbly by Denise Gough) hits the stage, the movie’s various themes grow deeper and more relevant, and slow build-up for the climactic husband-wife scene is masterly. Intelligent, provoking film-making with a real-life protagonist, for once, larger than life.

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