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Coco Before Chanel

In the words of Rachel Zoe, "Chanel - I die." The apprehension was getting crazy out of control, so we're psyched to gab about Coco Before Chanel ($10-12) now playing in limited release in LA and NY. Audrey Tatou plays legendary designer Coco Chanel in a moving and extremely personal look into the early years of a fashion icon. Comparing photos of Audrey and Coco, the casting couldn't have been better, and director Anne Fontaine has said that no other woman could have played her. Across the board, casting was excellent and acting was nuanced. It always helps to have substantive talent behind lush costuming and successful atmospheric on-location cinematography. The extreme focus on the Chanel herself in all her blunt, independent, deadly chic glory was a fantastic vicarious experience, but the cultural context and social limitations were all together neglected. Although gender inequality was not directly addressed, the prevailing and fearless character of Coco comes to light wonderfully. We're not going to let out any spoilers here, but take our word for it, Coco Chanel helped define the modern woman through cutting edge tailoring; her fashion rejected the convention of the codependent possessed woman. This movie pictures her realization of ambition and need for freedom as a feminist (hear, hear). See this movie.


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