Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 27 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: This is the story of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, who begins her life as a headstrong orphan, and through an extraordinary journey becomes the legendary couturier who embodied the modern woman and became a timeless symbol of success, freedom and style. (Sony Pictures Classics)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. 88
    The naturalism of Anne Fontaine's film would be at home in a novel by Dreiser. Her star Audrey Tautou, who could make lovability into a career, avoids any effort to make Coco Chanel nice, or soft, or particularly sympathetic.
  2. A superior filmed biography that brings intelligence, restraint and style to what could have been a more standard treatment.
  3. 75
    Through Tautou's performance, Coco Before Chanel reveals the formation of an artist.
  4. 70
    The blossoming of her ambition, as much as her love life, drives the story forward, and turns Coco Before Chanel into a costume drama worthy of the name.
  5. 63
    I could have watched this woman rip a piece fabric and turn it into a dress all day. I haven’t seen a lot of that. I have seen movies about a woman caught between two men, as Chanel is here.
  6. There are a select few artists who can take the same materials used by everyone else and create a masterpiece. Coco Chanel was one of them. Director Anne Fontaine is not.
  7. 38
    The movie is neither an affecting romance (Coco even considers marrying Balsan because "I'd achieve social status") nor an inspiring success story. Chanel sold herself to one guy, happened to get customers through him, and took a start-up loan from another lover.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Sep 21, 2014
    A sumptuous delight with ravishing and inspired performance by Audrey Tattou. Beautiful to look at and with wonderful soundtrack too, showing the multi-faceted beauty, both inside and out, of the amazing French woman. Important in showing that she was nobody's wife, mistress or fool, and was one of the best in coming from awful circumstances which could have crippled others, but through discovering and believing in herself became an icon without peer. Expand
  2. NarethaC
    Oct 15, 2009
    This film was a ravishing assault on the senses. Tatou is irresistible as the the young couturier. The force of her portrayal was breathtaking. Not too much of a storyline which could add to the effectiveness of her amazing acting. Visually this movie frame by frame was enchanting. Expand
  3. Lori
    Jan 17, 2010
    Coco Chanel was a very complicated women and i could imagine how hard it would be to play her. I believe that Audrey Tautou did a phenomenal job and should receive 2 thumbs up!!!! Expand
  4. JamesS
    Oct 13, 2009
    Audrey Tautou fills the role with quiet dignity and elegance (a word used to describe Coco in the movie). Very good supporting actors and a very good portrait set in France. A well written film. Expand
  5. Dec 3, 2010
    A superior bio-pic. Characters feel real and whole. Attractively shot. There is a real story here that will appeal to all regardless of any interest in fashion. Expand
  6. Sep 28, 2010
    Coco Before Chanel possessed the ability to match other famous French Biopic La Vie En Rose, with Audrey Tautou in the cast and a subject of one of the most prominent figures in the fashion industry. Sadly, it never becomes a great film as it only focuses on one part of Chanels life, which eventually becomes tedious after the audience realizes the emptiness of the film. The aspect the movie is lacking is the focus on her designing career, which is the purest and deepest flaw in the film. Director Anne Fontaine mainly focuses on Chanels life before fame, showing her stories of love and her liaison with Baron Balsan. Tautou, known for her role in Amelie, does succeed in emulating Chanels fierceness and apathy, but the problem is the plot itself. Overall, Chanel is a perfect example of a film with a good premise and subject, but fails to reach the potential that it is allotted. Expand