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Coco Before Chanel [Blu-ray]

4.0 out of 5 stars 144 customer reviews

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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: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 70,238 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

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

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: DVD
This is part 1 of the biopic of Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel, dealing with the period before her time as a top Parisian designer and focuses on her journey from a Catholic orphanage to her debut on the catwalk. The film is at heart a typical rags to riches tale, mainly focusing on the relationships Coco had with aristo Etienne Balsan (Benoît Poelvoorde) and the love of her life, industrialist Arthur Capel (Alessandro Nivola), and it's only once we meet these two that things liven up a bit. Whilst staying with Balsan, an unlikely love triangle develops which forms the core of the film. The film is at pains to allude to her as a modern woman, ahead of her time and forging an independent career rather than being defined by the mores of the time.

As you would expect, style defines this movie, and almost everything of merit derives from it. The costumes are suitably chic, especially the over-the-top frocks that lead to Chanel's first dalliance with the designing minefield. The cinematography is faultless; languid and beautiful, with each chapter in the story of Coco's early years lingered over. The leisured pace of director Anne Fontaine's presentation of one determined woman's struggle to express herself through her work does, however, teeter on the verge of torpor, particularly in scene-selection and I think also in the editing. Had the day been a little warmer, I might even have nodded off.

Audrey Tautou (and let's rejoice in her presence - the part was originally offered to Keira Knightley) finally manages to shake off the typecasting which has dogged her since Amelie. Her face seems tougher and her voice an octave lower than we are used to, hinting at worldliness; in her pyjamas, though, she is more Yoko than Coco.
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There are no spoilers in this review.

This is a well-acted and photographed film, and I can’t say too much about those good aspects of “Coco Before Chanel”.

On the down side though, it does not seem thorough in the way it shows her early life. For example the opening scenes showing a very significant episode of her story lasts mere moments in the film and then the story moves forward in time to quite some years later.

If the director chose not to show any of the controversy surrounding Coco Chanel’s later life that is up to the director and she will have her reasons for doing that, but is it an honest approach? when some might watch this and think that this is THE story of Coco Chanel.

Whilst watching the film, I couldn’t help but make a comparison between two French women who lived during a similar period in history and the recent films about them – the portrayal of Édith Piaf in “La Vie en Rose” and the portrayal of Coco Chanel in “Coco Before Chanel” and whilst both films are well acted and photographed, Piaf’s biopic seems far superior to that of Chanel’s which comes across as lazy and very much a missed opportunity.
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