Gabrielle catches the eye of wealthy Etienne Balsan, who installs her as his plaything at a rural retreat, where she develops her unique fashion sense. Leave a comment / review here The central casting of Audrey Tautou, a luminous screen presence since Amelie, should help to attract audiences unfamiliar with the story of Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel, the fashion designer from humble beginnings who became a cause celebre in pre-First World War France.Anne Fontaine's biopic is impeccably coiffed and tailored, employing authentic models and jewellery from the Chanel Conservatory, augmented by Catherine Leterrier's costumes which mimic the fabrics and cuts of the original 1930s designs.That changes, though, when she meets an eccentric actress (Devos), who takes a shine to her hat designs and falls for the charms of Englishman Arthur 'Boy' Capel (Nivola).
It's too bad that so photogenic a star is saddled with such a stodgy biopic, which crams about half an hour's worth of incident into 110 minutes.
Only at the end do we really get to see examples of her dress-making talent, and then it seems to spring out of nowhere, fully formed.
The most gripping character arc belongs to Benoit Poelvoorde, who plays Chanel's sugar daddy and makes a transition from snobbish sexist to most ardent admirer.
She soon catches the eye of snooty socialite Ã‰tienne Balsan (Poelvoorde) and is pulled into a new world of wealth and opportunity.
Coco is blunt and taciturn, lacking the charm or sycophancy needed to for high society preservation.