Parents' Guide to

Coco Before Chanel

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Fashion biopic is OK for teens; more style than substance.

Movie PG-13 2009 110 minutes
Coco Before Chanel Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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Kids say (2):

While Tautou has presence and Poelvoorde is fearsome as a chauvinistic lover who is surprised to discover how much he cares, the movie doesn't leave one breathless like the designer's fashions do. This French language-drama is regimented in its chronological approach and lacks the joie de vivre a biopic about possibly the chicest woman that ever lived ought to have.

As a subject, Coco compels. But this sliver of her life is paltry, material-wise. Yes, there's the tug-of-war between two men -- not really much of a war, since both appear all-too-willing to share her -- and the fascinating beginnings of Coco's exacting eye. And there's her struggle to be seen on her own terms and not as an accoutrement to a man. But that could've been condensed into an hour, leaving another hour for more of her life. (There has been controversy over the hemming of Chanel's reputation as a Nazi sympathizer.) Or, at least, for more glimpses of her at work. The few scenes we get of her doing this come alive. We understand this film is entitled "Coco Before Chanel" for a reason. But for most viewers, Coco is Chanel, and seeing the before is made greater if we see the after.

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