Of writers and market forces
This true story excels, a period drama with a unique character whose life was unpredictable. Keira Knightly is radiant in portraying the most famous French female author.
Colette started off in a literature factory run by her husband Willy. Willy was the brand name to take credit for a stable of other writers’ output. Willy teeters at the edge of bankruptcy, mostly because of his extravagant indulgences, womanizing, and gambling, living the Paris high-life at the turn of the 20th Century.
When Willy prompts his young bride Colette to bang out a quick novel of her schoolgirl stories, purely for needed cash, she does. The prose is so dense and lacking in plot he balks. Eventually, when the men arrive to carry away his writing desk, he takes a second look at Colette’s manuscript. The pressure is on to edit it into something saleable.
When Colette’s sexy stories flood Paris in a success no one could have predicted, there is instant pressure to produce more. The country is taken by the raw, highly emotional sexual awakening tales of Claudine. Claudine becomes a superstar, and it’s a bonanza. Colette, however, is not given credit. Resolved to remain obscure, she is tempted to branch out into erotic indiscretions.
The story takes further twists and turns, an adult costume drama that felt real. The filming is tight and skilled. Dialogue should please writers and others. Colette is memorable, even though the drama barely hints at her immense vocabulary and poetic stylings.
See: Barks and Purrs
“Madame Colette Willy is a live woman, a real woman, who has dared to be natural and who resembles a little village bride far more than a perverse woman of letters.”