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Coco Before Chanel [Blu-ray]


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Product details

  • Actors: Audrey Tautou, Benoît Poelvoorde, Alessandro Nivola, Marie Gillain, Emmanuelle Devos
  • Directors: Anne Fontaine
  • Producers: Caroline Benjo, Philippe Carcassonne, Carole Scotta
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 23 Nov. 2009
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002KAIVKE
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,147 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Lavish biopic recounting the life and work of legendary French fashion designer Coco Chanel, from her humble beginnings in an Auvergne orphanage in the late 1800s after being abandoned by her pedlar father. Audrey Tatou stars in the title role as Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel, whose inspiration and determination eventually took her to the most elevated position in the male-dominated fashion industry.

Synopsis

From humble beginnings to the heights of society, this is the astonishing story of Gabrielle Chanel, the legendary couturier who became a timeless symbol of success, freedom and style. Orphaned at a young age, Coco Chanel was raised in a convent school, where she learned to embroider and sew. Bored and dissatisfied with the living she could earn as a seamstress, she began singing in backstreet cafés and bars, where she attracted the attention of Étienne Balsan, a rich gentleman who immediately became intrigued by the stubborn, striking young ingénue. Swept up in her rich lover’s world, Coco soon drew the eyes of society towards her with her unique, elegant style in a time of flamboyance and excess. Just as controversial was the passionate love affair in which she became embroiled, which shattered the conventions of her society – a love so dangerous and forbidden it threatened to destroy her. Also featuring Benoît Poelvoorde (Man Bites Dog) and Alessandro Nivola (Mansfield Park, The Eye), Coco Before Chanel stars Audrey Tautou (Amelie, The Da Vinci Code) as Coco, the woman who dared to be different and became an icon! EXTRAS: COCO BEFORE CHANEL: LA RENCONTRE (“THE MEETING”) Includes interviews with director Anne Fontaine and star Audrey Tautou. THE MAKING OF: COCO BEFORE CHANEL COMMENTARY by Director & Writer Anne Fontaine

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Movie Buff on 7 Feb. 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'm giving this a five to make up for all the imbeciles who have criticized a French film for being in French, and the other imbeciles who think it should have had more explosions in it. Actually, I thought it was a four.

I don't know how accurate the details of Coco Chanel's life are as shown, but it conveys the period beautifully. I think the French do historical films very well - partly because of their attention to detail, and partly because they concentrate on showing how things were rather than preaching or disapproving.

Audrey Tatou is in every scene and is rivetting. She plays Chanel as the relaistic and determined person she must have been. The other actors are good too, no wrong notes.

And it's stunningly photographed. Whether it's the inside of the convent, the ballroom in her lover's chateau, or the beach at Deauville, you can't take your eyes off it. For myself, I would have liked to know more about the fabrics and the clothes, but I realise I'm in a minority. I had expected to watch this film once and move on, but now I know I'll watch it again - well written, very well acted and beautifully photographed.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By luvstuff on 21 Jan. 2010
Format: DVD
The Guardian stated in its review of Coco Before Chanel that it is dull. I have to disagree with that completely. This is elegant, refined, inspiring and as an added bonus it features the lovely Audrey Tautou.

Chanel as the subject matter of a film is interesting as when you look at the company's many high end products you realise that you know very little if anything about the woman whose name sits so proudly and smartly them. I loved the simplistic approach this movie took to Chanel's life and the novel idea of analysing her before her success. There are so many gross, hysterical films now that are almost pornographic and it is wonderful to come across a film that is controlled and tasteful.

The story begins with a heart breaking scene, Chanel and her sister abandoned by their father. The DVD extras reveal that not all the scenes should be taken at face value and that because Chanel used to exaggerate certain aspects of her life to convey and place emphasis on social problems, the script was written in the same manner. The plot is a journey of hope, expectation, disappointment, despair, love and achievement. The film is structured in such way that it is impossible to not feel anything but admiration for Chanel because of her courage and her intellect.

Character wise the film is aided by a strong supporting cast who all come across as believable. Boy in the film (Nivola) is the most intriguing character after Chanel. The right depth is given to Chanel's character. None of the segments of the film feel rushed and you always believe that Tautou is her.

I can only describe the script as beautiful. A thing of joy. It really is very pleasant.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By SilentSinger TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 Mar. 2010
Format: DVD
Audrey Tatou portrays Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel before she became famous for the fashion house which still bears her name. Being a French film it's subtitled which made it all the more authentic and didn't bother myself and my husband at all unlike some other reviewers! It tells Coco's story from when she and her sister are abandoned by their father at a Catholic orphanage as children where she first learns her trade as a seamstress, their subsequent career as caberet artistes and the slow road to her eventually becoming a milliner and ultimately a coturier. In many ways it's fairly slow moving and languid but Tatou's beguiling performance and the stunning scenery more than compensate for that.

Coco's relationships with Etienne Balsan with whom she enjoys the taste of the high life and Arthur 'Boy' Capel are both senstively handled and it's interesting to see the juxtoposition of her sister's relationship with a Baron whom she remains a mistress of for many years. Of course, we should always remember that in France Mistresses enjoyed a certain amount of social status and probably more than their English counterparts.

Although the ending is somewhat rushed, this film remains a stand alone piece. I thought that Tatou's central performance was mesmerising and that she really 'became' Coco Chanel in the process.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By tallmanbaby TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 18 Sept. 2011
Format: DVD
Audrey Tatou is a tremendously attractive and likeable actress and this film relies heavily on her. It tells the story of the early life of Coco Chanel the fashion designer. For non fashion audiences worth noting that over her life she had close associations with a wide number of rich and powerful men, including Igor Stravinsky. During the second world war she was accused of collaborating with the Nazis, and her work was unpopular in France after the war. At one time she was the richest woman in the world.

The film is consistently attractive to look at, it regularly drops in little explanations for signature pieces of Chanel style, like the origin of the use of jersey or the matelot horizontal stripe. It is also nice to see Benoît Poelvoorde who was the rather matter of fact killer in Man Bites Dog.

I have a few problems with the film.

Firstly the pacing, it is incredibly slow, it pretty much drags from beginning to end, though nice enough to look at. Having said that the overall chronology is a mystery, presumably the odd decade must zip past in there, but it is unclear from the film, for example when was the first world war in relation to any of the action.

Secondly the characters live in a world that we might describe as morally ambiguous, or just plain immoral. Wealthy men pick up mistresses and discard them on a whim. Women with appealing looks are content to play the system for what they can get out of it. However rather than allowing any taint to apply to Coco Chanel she is depicted as a rather innocent soul, inadvertently caught up in such things, rather than a ruthless gold-digger.
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