Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Stories & Identities: “Colette” explores the fascinating life of the famous French novelist.

“My name is Claudine. I live in Montaigne. I was born there in 1884. I shall probably not die there.”

So pens Colette (Kiera Knightley), the young woman from the late 1800s/early 1900s for whom director Wash Westmoreland’s “Colette” is named after. Colette has found herself married to Willy, a man whose claim to fame is his writing—though it is not, in fact, his.

Moving to Paris from the country to marry Willy (Dominic West), Colette is thrown into a world that takes a while to grow on her. While Willy loves riches, flirting and fame, Colette is content with the silence of the countryside and is not impressed with Willy’s friends, who flaunt their “personality with a capital P” (their airs are perfectly symbolized by a bedazzled turtle that Colette sees at a party Willy takes her to).

So, when Willy announces that their finances are low and asks Colette to write a novel about her school days so that he can publish it under his name, she jumps at the opportunity to do something worthwhile.

Ironically, Colette’s writing sells volumes more than any of Willy’s works ever did, and Willy begs her (and at times, forces her) to keep writing “Claudine’s” story. As Willy continues to squander away the profits of the book sales and stir more and more discontent in Colette’s life, she begins to explore her surroundings, and—more importantly—herself, in the context of queer identity and pushing gender norms.

Written by Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer, the story follows the true story of Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, who continued on to write many books after the “Claudine” series, under her own name. The dialogue is bright and biting at times, with rich performances from both Knightley and West, their onscreen chemistry relaying their strange, adverse relationship. Supporting performances by Eleanor Tomlinson and Denise Gough as Colette’s love interests bring the film even more life, and though the cinematography is nothing more than straightforward, the story more than makes up for that.

“Colette” is coming soon to Midtown Cinema. Don’t miss the opportunity to see this fascinating tale.


Midtown Cinema
October Events

National Theatre Live
Monday, Oct. 1, 7 p.m.

“King Lear”
Monday, Oct. 22, 7 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 28, 7 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 29, 7 p.m.

“Halloween” (1978)
Friday, Oct. 5, 8:30 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 26, 8:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 31, 8 p.m.

“Mike Kuchar: Filmmaker In-Person”
Wednesday, Oct. 10, 7 p.m.

“The Hungan” (1991)
Sunday, Oct. 21, 7 p.m.

Down in Front!
“Werewolf” (1995)
Friday, Oct. 12, 9:30 p.m.

Vidjam of Horror
Sunday, Oct. 14, 7 p.m.

3rd in the Burg $3 Movie
“Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992)
Friday, Oct. 19, 9:30 p.m.

“Rocky Horror Picture Show”
Saturday, Oct. 27, 8 p.m. & 10:30 p.m.

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