Becoming Colette (1991)

Although it signs off with a memorably grotty song ('the greener fields were laughter and tears, as days and nights turned into years'), this pretty period piece is mainly an effective mini biopic of the French literary lioness, concentrating on her early years as the naive country girl (Mathilda May) marries turn of the century swinger Klaus Maria Brandauer and is introduced into the social whirl of Gay Paree and also the 15 certificate delights of diiscreet bisexual promiscuity, and climaxing with Brandauer's admission that the successful book he was about to claim responsibility for was actually written by his soon to be ex. May looks fetching in and (briefly) out of costumes and Brandauer turns on some of his wattage as the caddish hubby, while Virginia Madsen, the queen of direct to video movies, swans through as a supporting sweetheart. Directed by Danny Huston, son of John, who previously handled Mr North and would seem to be well advised to try something without starched collars next time out if he doesn't want to be typecast as a specialist in historical literary footnotes.
KIM NEWMAN

First Published In: Empire (issue unknown)


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