Colette’s story of artistic recognition as a woman trapped in the shadow of her husband is certainly informed by the era in which she was married and began her writing career during the 1890s. However, it is also a painfully timeless story as well—one that should feel quite therapeutic for many moviegoers when the Keira Knightley-led biopic Colette opens this fall. Thus enters the new trailer.
Before Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette became the internationally famous “Colette” author in the early 20th century, she was a young French woman woman living during La Belle Époch, and who married Henry Gauthier-Villars in 1893. Gauthier-Villars, who also went by the nom-de plume of “Willy,” was a popular French writer and music critic in his era, authoring many books… including those he took credit for after Colette finished writing them. Indeed, acting as a self-described mentor to his wife, “Willy” published the first four novels by Colette, her famed Claudine stories, under his name between 1900 and 1903. In the process, he did at least give a platform to one of the most popular and enduring authors to come out the Fin de siècle in France. Eventually, Colette was able to break out on her own, creatively and martially (they separated in 1906), and she went on to become an internationally celebrated author, journalist, and actress, including for writing the story of a schoolgirl-groomed-to-be-a-courtesan in Gigi.
In the new film, Knightley plays the undaunted Colette, who travels from wife to author, and Dominic West is Willy, the publisher and husband who is both a doorway and a blockade in her career’s progression. The film also stars Fiona Shaw and is directed by Wash Westmoreland (Still Alice), and is written by Richard Glatzer (Still Alice) and Rebecca Lenkiewicz (Disobedience).
Colette opens on Sept 21 in select cities.