Coco Before Chanel (2009/Sony Blu-ray + DVD)
B- Sound: B/B- Extras: B- Film: B-
not been the biggest fan of Audrey Tautou’s work. From Amélie
to God Is Great & I Am Not to The DaVinci Code, she has been doing
cutesy, overrated work to large commercial and awkward critical success. That does not mean she could actually
act. After several women have played
Coco Chanel and so many stories have been told, I was not certain Anne
Fontaine’s Coco Before Chanel (2009)
would be any different. Even Fontaine’s
work was limited behind the camera.
Instead, it turned out to be one of the best surprises of the year.
gives a breakthrough performance of her career as the woman who became a
fashion legend, but long before that happened.
It is a carefully written, performed, directed and thought-out character
study (co-written by Camille Fontaine and based on Edmonde Charles-Roux’s book)
on her lives, tough life, uglinesses unspoken and realistic man’s world she
lived in portrayed. At 100 minutes, it
was not long enough, something I never thought I would say before viewing.
amazed how convincing so many of the scenes were, how the world created was
more palpable than so many film and TV shows set in this period have been. The supporting cast (most of whom I had never
seen before) are top rate and the combination of locations, production design
and (obviously) costumes are excellent.
Even if you know nothing about fashion, you will see many things about
the woman behind the name and that is enough to more than recommend Coco Before Chanel.
2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on the Blu-ray was shot in real 35mm
anamorphic Panavision by Christophe Beaucarne with some moments of some of the
best camerawork of the year. With that
said, there is a little more motion blur throughout than I expected, whether
from the transfer or digital internegative work. The anamorphically enhanced DVD version hides
some of these flaws, but also suffers in having poorer detail, color and the
inability to render the best shots. The
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mix is very warm and though this can be
dialogue-based often (in French), the use of music by red hot Alexandre Desplat
(Julie & Julia, Fantastic Mr. Fox) takes the surrounds
up nicely. The Dolby Digital 5.1 on the
DVD is not bad, but no match for the soundfield and richness of the Blu-ray’s
both versions include feature-length audio commentary by Director Fontaine, Walking The Red Carpet: From Los Angeles To
New York, Coco Before Chanel: “La Rencontre” (“The Meeting”) and a making
of featurette. The Blu-ray adds BD-Live
- Nicholas Sheffo