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A stitch in time

movie reviews Updated: Apr 30, 2010 22:32 IST
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Coco Avant Chanel
Warner Brothers/Big Video, Rs 599
Rating: ***

This is the sort of film that Angelina ‘The Changeling’ Jolie, in her current ‘serious roles’ phase’ would have loved to star in. It’s a period film about an icon, the kind that Hollywood is always on an Oscar-hunt about.

Instead of Angelina, it’s Audrey Tautou (Amelie, er, The Da Vinci Code etc) who plays the legendary Coco Chanel in Coco Avant Chanel (Coco Before Chanel). Anne Fontaine’s 2009 French biopic traces haute couture’s high priestess from her humble beginnings to her entry and conquest in the joyous glitz of early 20th century Parisian haute society.

Dance hall singer, seamstress, fashionista and, above all, rebel, the gamin-like Tautou conjures up a performance that is at the same time utilitarian for the purpose of knowing the woman she plays and stylish in her under-the-topness. In other words, a portrayal that Coco would have thoroughly approved.