The makers of BECOMING COLETTE couldn't decide whether they were creating historical romance, soft-core pornography, or a politically correct tale of a french author's liberation from her wretched husband. The mix doesn't work, and a potentially interesting (and partially true) story is marred by trashy hysterics and unnecessary sex scenes, including two extended scenes of lesbian fondling.
BECOMING COLETTE is a biography of French novelist Colette, whose romances were considered racy in her time (though one was the inspiration for the Academy Award winning musical “Gigi”). Colette (Mathilda May) originally was Gabrielle, a provincial innocent whose beauty caught the eye of Henry Gauthier-Villar (Klaus Maria Brandauer), a notorious Parisian publisher known as “Willy” (his pen name). Shortly, Gabrielle and Willy wed. Unfortunately, Willy owes money to everyone, but he spends recklessly. He has ruined his father’s publishing company, yet he shamelessly borrows from his father. He frequents prostitutes. He lies. He tries to entangle his wife into kinky three-way sex. When Gabrielle puts her strange experiences into writing, Willy publishes it under his own name. When Gabrielle learns that Willy has confiscated the letters sent by her family, she exposes Willy’s deceit and takes rightful credit for her work.
This story of release from a destructive relationship should have been honed to a fine edge. Instead, circumstances and dialogue become hopelessly turgid and Gabrielle’s liberation involves a lesbian relationship. These miscalculations are unfortunate, because scattered amid the sex and trashy hysterics are some good performances. Regrettably, a potentially interesting (and partially true) story is marred by trashy hysterics and unnecessary sex scenes, including two extended scenes of lesbian fondling.
(H, L, NN, Ho, SSS) Feminism triumphs complete with: 2 obscenities; complete female nudity (brief) & multiple scenes of upper female nudity; two nude scenes of lesbian kissing & fondling, brief but moderate explicit heterosexual intercourse, sexual immorality, fornication, voyeurism, prostitution, & brief views of Victorian-era porn photos.