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Coco Before Chanel(Coco avant Chanel)

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France, Belgium · 2009
Rated PG-13 · 1h 50m
Director Anne Fontaine
Starring Audrey Tautou, Benoît Poelvoorde, Alessandro Nivola, Marie Gillain
Genre Drama, History

Before rising to the top of Parisian haute couture, Gabrielle Chanel was just a young girl in an orphanage, moonlighting as a cabaret singer. When a liaison with a wealthy heir allows her entrance into French society, she begins to develop her gift for designing while throwing out the restrictive trends that defined women's fashion at the time.

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Variety by

More sentimental than chic, Gallic biopic Coco Before Chanel nonetheless knits a convincing portrait of the designer's journey from her humble beginnings as a provincial seamstress to the halls of Parisian haute couture.


USA Today by Claudia Puig

Not an expansive biopic but a fascinating snapshot of a pivotal chapter for Chanel, her formative fashionista years.


Entertainment Weekly by Lisa Schwarzbaum

Tautou is a fascinating, unsmiling, petite presence with a severe brow and an androgynous appeal, so much so that I wish Alessandro Nivola (Junebug) were a more robust beau as Arthur ''Boy'' Capel, the love of Chanel's life.


Village Voice by Melissa Anderson

The Coco of Fontaine's project--which she co-wrote with her sister, Camille, freely adapting Edmonde Charles-Roux's book L'Irrégulière: ou, Mon itinéraire Chanel--can be described as courtesan before couturiere.


The A.V. Club by Scott Tobias

There are indications scattered throughout Coco Before Chanel of a major designer quietly and persistently honing her craft, but most of the film could exist without the Chanel name and still smell like the same perfume.

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