Coco Before Chanel, Blu-ray (2010)

by | Feb 20, 2010 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Coco Before Chanel, Blu-ray (2010)

Starring: Audrey Tautou, Benoit Poelvoorde
Director: Anne Fontaine
Studio: Canal+/Sony Pictures Classics 33163 [2/16/10]
Video: 2.35:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9 1080p HD
Audio: French DTS-HD MA 5.1 (Extras: English or French PCM stereo)
Subtitles: English
Extras: “Walking the Red Carpet From Los Angeles to New York,” “Coco Before Chanel – The Meeting,” “The Making of Coco Before Chanel,” English commentary track by director/writer Anne Fontaine
Length: 110 minutes
Rating: ****

Although frankly the subject didn’t greatly interest me, I’m willing to see any film with Audrey Tautou in it.  This is not your usual biopic, in that it deals with the young woman before she became Chanel and set about changing women’s fashion in general.  She didn’t start out with a goal of doing that; in fact she and her sister both had extremely difficult times, being orphans and living in a period before feminism has any power whatever.  They both had to fight for opportunities, and Coco is let down by failure in her first goal of being a singer/entertainer. She sees her only alternative to being stuck as a mundane seamstress to becoming the live-in mistress of wealthy landowner Balsan. 

Chanel quickly exhibits her non-conformist ideas about fashion and feminism. She falls in love with a friend of Balsan’s, Boy Chapel, but that comes to a disturbing end. However, she states to both of them that she has no intention of ever getting married.  She also dresses herself in and leans toward more androgynous fashions in her designs than women were wearing.  Her ever-steady determination thruout her life is the mainstay of her portrayal. In fact in the extras the direct and writer states that they had some struggle convincing Tautou to agree to the role, and if she hadn’t, there would not have been a film made. 

The cinematography and settings are gorgeous, as well as all the costumes, and the Blu-ray transfer preserves them well. Not much use of the 5.1 surround.  I’m regarding this film as a sort of warm-up for the coming feature Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky.

 – John Sunier

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