Rated 4.0

Director Wash Westmoreland, with a script co-written with Richard Glatzer and Rebecca Lenkiewicz, traces the early career of the French writer Colette (Keira Knightley) from 1893 to 1910, when she was married to—and ghost-wrote for—the literary celebrity Henry Gauthier-Villars, aka “Willy” (Dominic West). The movie traces the process of Colette’s struggling out from under Villars’ paternalistic wing, in a relationship that progresses (or degenerates) from mentor/student to exploiter/exploited; in the background is the ever-present irony that today Villars is utterly forgotten while Colette is renowned the world over. Knightley and West head a pitch-perfect cast, and Westmoreland (aided by cinematographer Giles Nuttgens and designer Michael Carlin) flawlessly recreates Belle Époque France.