#13 Coco Before Chanel
There is one standard rule about making movies about geniuses. It must be somewhat tragic. Every movie that I’ve ever seen that focused on the life of a genius, has had some element of pain that explains the motivation for the main character. Coco before Chanel is no exception. It’s a moving story about the innovative genius behind what is quite possibly the most recognizable scent of our times. Curiously, the famous formula #5 isn’t even eluded to in this French film, instead focusing on the tragic love life, and determination of Gabrielle Chanel as she found her way to fame in a world that was determined to keep her down.
The film stars the lovely Audrey Tatou, whom you might recognzie from another modern French classic, Amelie’. She plays the part well, giving a strong performance as a headstrong woman in a man’s world, practically transforming from a youthful and exhuberant dance hall girl to a strong, world weary woman of industry. The change is truly startling when you see it.
Well worth watching, if you don’t mind reading subtitles, or if you can speak French. The movie is heavily steeped in European style, and might not appeal to some American audiences.