Coco Before Chanel

April 22nd, 2009


Coco Before Chanel

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Still of Audrey Tautou in Coco Before ChanelStill of Marie Gillain and Audrey Tautou in Coco Before ChanelStill of Audrey Tautou in Coco Before ChanelStill of Benoît Poelvoorde, Audrey Tautou and Fanny Deblock in Coco Before ChanelStill of Audrey Tautou in Coco Before ChanelStill of Audrey Tautou in Coco Before Chanel

The story of Coco Chanel's rise from obscure beginnings to the heights of the fashion world.

Release Year: 2009

Rating: 6.5/10 (12,336 voted)

Critic's Score: 65/100

Director: Anne Fontaine

Stars: Audrey Tautou, Benoît Poelvoorde, Alessandro Nivola

Several years after leaving the orphanage to which her father never returned for her, Gabrielle Chanel finds herself working in a provincial bar both. She's both a seamstress for the performers and a singer, earning the nickname Coco from the song she sings nightly with her sister. A liaison with Baron Balsan gives her an entree into French society and a chance to develop her gift for designing increasingly popular hats. When she falls in love with English businessman Arthur Capel further opportunities open up, though life becomes ever more complicated.

Writers: Anne Fontaine, Edmonde Charles-Roux

Audrey Tautou - Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel
Benoît Poelvoorde - Étienne Balsan
Alessandro Nivola - Arthur 'Boy' Capel
Marie Gillain - Adrienne Chanel
Emmanuelle Devos - Emilienne d'Alençon
Régis Royer - Alec, le jockey
Etienne Bartholomeus - Maître d'hôtel Balsan
Yan Duffas - Maurice de Nexon
Fabien Béhar - Patron boutique
Roch Leibovici - Jean, le palefrenier
Jean-Yves Chatelais - Directeur beuglant
Pierre Diot - Acteur théâtre
Vincent Nemeth - Gros homme théâtre
Bruno Abraham-Kremer - Tailleur Deauville
Lisa Cohen - Gabrielle Chanel, 10 ans

Taglines: Before she was France's famous mademoiselle...


Official Website: Official site [United States] | Warner Bros. [Germany] |

Release Date: 22 April 2009

Filming Locations: Cabourg, Calvados, France

Box Office Details

Budget: €19,430,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: £423,268 (UK) (2 August 2009) (91 Screens)

Gross: $6,109,075 (USA) (7 February 2010)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Visa d'exploitation (en France) n° 121049

Continuity: Costume continuity during the scene where "Boy" allows Coco Chanel to drive the motorcar. When they eventually stop the car, Coco is wearing a white scarf which she was not wearing when she first got into the car.

[first lines]
[subtitled version of French dialog]
Nun: Girls who have visitors, follow me.
Gabrielle Chanel, 10 ans: Come on. Come on, let's go.
Adrienne Chanel, 10 ans: I don't want to.

User Review

Beautifully made

Rating: 8/10

It may be a subject that will not automatically appeal to many. However, this movie is certainly worth watching.

Audrey Tautou, complete with all the mannerisms and dark looks of Coco Chanel, plays a magnificent role. We start of at the miserable beginning of Gabrielle Chanel's life, in an orphanage. It quickly becomes clear that this is not the story about some high-society woman who got bored and decided to make clothes in a style that was unheard of at that time, even for people who don't know anything about the life of Coco Chanel. We see her, slowly but surely, clawing her way up in society, using her charm and wit, but most of all: her outspokenness, always telling what she thinks.

Cinematographically, this film is outstanding too. Throughout the film, certain elements of clothing (black and white patterns, stripes, men's shirts) are shown through an unclear lens, to point out that even the most early views of Coco on fashion were incorporated in her style later.

This film is not just a story about Coco's success, it's also about her struggle to fit in in a society that differed so much from her own opinions, about her losses and heartaches. All in all, we get a complete picture of the icon that is still loved and admired today.


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