Colette isn’t quite the feminist manifesto with modern relevancy that it wants to be, but the inability to hit that mark isn’t due to a lack of effort.
The content to achieve those ends is largely there, as are electric performances by Keira Knightley as the titular French author and Dominic West as her demanding husband Willy, but the stuffy period filmmaking by Wash Westmoreland (whose Still Alice is comparably flat) doesn’t rise to match their passion.
A montage of the French citizenry consuming the Claudine stories — along with the style of the character and the brand’s various merchandise — that Colette ghostwrites without credit shows a crackle of creativity, and another stretch in which she and Willy have separate covert trysts with the same woman is similarly energetic, yet that vibrancy is otherwise absent.
There’s also the matter of fellow late summer release The Wife covering much of the same subject matter without being tied to the bonds of historical accuracy. Though its real-life story came first, Colette may very well suffer from arriving second on screen.
Grade: B-minus. Rated R. Starts Oct. 12 at the Fine Arts Theatre
(Photo: Bleecker Street)