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Coco Before Chanel [Blu-ray]

Audrey Tautou , Benoît Poelvoorde , Anne Fontaine    Suitable for 12 years and over   Blu-ray
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
Price: £3.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Coco Before Chanel [Blu-ray] + Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky [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: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 51,923 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


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.


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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
79 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing 7 Feb 2010
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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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Avant 21 Jan 2010
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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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Style over substance 16 Jun 2010
By Andy Millward VINE VOICE
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Speaking as a keen devotee both of French films and films without an extensive narrative to drive a plot (and trust me, I've seen plenty of those in my time!), you would expect me to enjoy Coco Before Chanel. In fact, I found the film somewhat shapeless and undramatic. Ravishing to look at, beautifully acted and correct in almost every detail, but with insufficient substance to fill the 2 hours allotted. I kept wanting something different to happen, but it never did.

The title is the giveaway: Coco before Chanel, indeed. Coco after Chanel is glossed over in the text epilogue displayed after the film has ended. Are we to assume Coco's life during these years of huge success so undramatic they did not warrant any screen time? Why not Coco Chanel's full life story? Compared to the La Vie En Rose, the entire film fails to deliver the goods, but I can't believe that is simply because less happened to Chanel than to Piaf.

Admittedly, the subject and her relative lack of emotional intensity does not help, portrayed with accuracy but no real charm by the excellent Tautou. A car crash betrays the only real feeling in the film. Seldom do we get inside the character to learn her inner drive. Surely there must have been more layers of the Chanel onion to peel? At any rate, the character and the film appear distant and uninvolving, which is a great shame.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stylish 13 Mar 2010
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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