Colette, a historical drama that begins in the 1800’s, asks viewers to consider the progress of the women’s rights movement. Director Wash Westmoreland’s biopic about a “famous” French writer weaves together themes of misogyny, gender identity, and sexual repression to show us we’re not as far along today as we like to think.
Colette (Keira Knightley) is a young country girl from a humble family who can’t even afford a dowry. So they’re overjoyed to marry her off to Henry (Dominic West), a charming older man who works in publishing. Bad move folks. It turns out Henry is a gambler, drinker, and womanizer who only looks out for himself. When Henry discovers Colette’s gift for writing he takes full advantage.
Colette writes about her life under the guise of Claudine, and the Claudine books become a sensation. But Henry takes the credit and reaps all the financial benefits. Amidst his shadow, Colette’s budding sexuality leads her to explore her attraction to women.
Colette is sure to be one of 2018’s most inspiring films. We watch the naïve country girl grow up and experience joy, frustration, and eventually outrage on her path to self-actualization. Colette attains a level of self-assurance people today still chase after. And if there isn’t enough incentive to watch this fearless, beautifully shot, pro-feminist biopic, Knightley punctuates the movie with a thundering monologue guaranteed to leave audiences buzzing.