Saturday, February 20, 2010


Coco Before Chanel (Sony)
Director Anne Fontaine’s conventionally enjoyable biopic—a recounting of the great French designer’s life before she became famous—is dominated by Audrey Tautou’s dazzling star turn, which gives the movie much of its style and panache. Although Tautou is far prettier than the real-life Coco Chanel, she shares a severe, dark beauty—and a pair of luminously piercing eyes—as she exudes the self-confident allure that made Coco irresistible to both men and women.

Even with the genre’s built-in limitations (a fatal accident seems like a screenwriter’s contrivance, even though it really happened), Coco Before Chanel is, thanks to Tautou’s grace and Fontaine’s adherence to the designer’s dictum that simplicity is best, exceptionally entertaining. On Blu-ray, Coco dazzles visually, Fontaine’s commentary is chatty and informative, and a behind-the-scenes documentary includes interviews with the director and her superstar.
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