This could be very, very good. Keira Knightley is getting raves for her performance as Gabrielle Colette.
Colette was many things: Actress, journalist, and nominee for the Nobel Prize for Literature. Katherine Anne Porter wrote that Colette “is the greatest living French writer of fiction; and that she was while Gide and Proust still lived.”
While she’s generally regarded as one of the preeminent novelists of the 20th century, she’s probably best known in the US for her 1944 novella, Gigi, which Lerner and Loewe turned into a stage production and Vincente Minnelli adapted as a film.
And her life! Her first husband, Willy, published her early works under his name instead of hers, taking the credit and keeping the royalties for himself. When she was less prolific than he wanted, he kept her locked in a room until she’d produced what he thought was a sufficient number of new pages.
Even before the inevitable divorce, she had begun to live exactly as she pleased, taking both male and female lovers, often considerably older or younger than herself. (One of her two later marriages broke up after she seduced her 16-year-old stepson.)
When she died at 81, the Catholic Church refused to give her a religious burial. France, on the other hand, honoured Colette by making her the first female French writer to be given a state funeral.
She’s buried at Père-Lachaise cemetery, along with Oscar Wilde, Guillaume Apollinaire, Marcel Proust, Sarah Bernhardt, Marcel Marceau, Honoré de Balzac, Gertrude Stein, Rosa Bonheur, Frédéric Chopin, Marcel Proust, Isadora Duncan, and, of course, Jim Morrison.
Colette opened in New York and Los Angeles last weekend. The current Tomatometer reading is 92%.