MUST-SEE: (Anne Fontaine) I'm a sucker for a period piece. I also adore vintage fashion and French films. In Coco Before Chanel, all my favorite things are rolled into one romantic fashion-forward fairytale. The story begins in a nightclub where Coco and her sister perform cheesy song and dance for pocket change, living in cramped quarters and dreaming of stardom amidst sweaty suitors and dirty dresses. But plans change when her sister meets a gentleman and moves away, halting the dynamic duo's dreams and forcing Coco to pursue her a future on her own. She ends up as a hidden muse on the estate of the wealthy Etienne Balsan - an infamous host of wild parties, tremendous imbibing and fabulous (in his opinion) material things. Coco, ridden to the shadows, spends her time perfecting her hat-making hobby and sewing new clothes, grabbing attention despite Balsan's attempts to keep her a secret. With her androgynous outfits and trendy chapeaus, she lights a fire under the staple trends, building a reputation for herself with each stitch. Squeeze in a long journey of love and heartbreak and you end up with Coco Chanel - the only woman ever to own a professional powerhouse in her own name.
Audrey Tautou plays Coco as a spunky, independent and sardonic woman. Serious about her own interests and eager to impress, but unwilling to compromise, Tautou rounds out Coco as a woman to envy - both professionally and spiritually. The film plays through lightly and genuinely - remaining entertaining and visually stimulating. You'll enjoy it if you're into the aforementioned things I love. It's whimsy and stylish, and a story woven together as easily as Chanel's hats. It'll inspire you to stick to your dreams and polish your talents, proving that you can never underestimate what you are capable of accomplishing. Enjoy this one!!