Coco Before Chanel & One for the Road


Photo from the Huffington Post:

Last Friday, 25 September, Coco Avant Chanel opened in the U.S. I saw this film in Paris on 5 May, 2009.

I will admit, I am posting about the movie for a couple of reasons. First, I have noticed that I get Google hits on this blog when I blog about movies, especially recent ones, and I kind of like that people come to see my blog in this way! LOL! So, I know that if I put Audrey Tautou and “Coco Before Chanel” in this blog and then tag it, folks may come to see what’s up. *grin*

So “hi there” if you are here because you found my blog on a search like that!  *waves at you*

I will, though, put my impressions of the movie, here, too. Here’s the deal from ParisKarin about “Coco Before Chanel.”

1. This is a notable film for me as it is the first-ever movie I went to in a Paris theater that was not in English. It was, also, the first French movie I had ever seen *without* subtitles.

2. I wanted to see this movie, even though I knew I would probably understand less than 25% of it without subtitles because it just looked so goshdarn PRETTY. I thought, “Certainly this will be a pretty enough movie that not understanding 75% of what is going on will be worth it!”

3. I was partly correct about Number 2. The movie IS a very pretty period piece and is really well-done in terms of the sets and costuming. Everything does indeed look very pretty in it. It also means it is a bit boring, lol. Rarely have I seen a period piece that is NOT somewhat boring in spots (“A Room With a View” as a classic example of a period piece that was not boring to me. When I mention this movie amongst women, they agree. When I mention it amongst men, they all groan. More on this in a moment…), but because this one was totally in French with no subtitles, and my comprehension was pretty sketchy, I confess I fell asleep somewhere in the middle for maybe about 10-15 minutes, haha. It was light dozing, the kind you do when the theater chairs are super comfortable, and because it is so dark and warm, you find yourself nodding…. off……. zzzzzzzzzzz. It was during a quieter part of the film, I know. And I am pretty sure this was one where PJ and I went to a show after 9 pm. Lethal combo.

4. Because I could only understand the broader strokes of this film, I hesitate to really give an endorsement of it one way or another, but I have this sense/these reactions about it as someone who went to see it out of curiosity and focused on what the movie looked like.

a. This is pretty much a movie only chicks are going to like. Girlfriends, do not drag your man to this one. I could get away with dragging mine as (1) PJ has the movie pass that lets me into movies in the first place and I begged him to go; (2) he is fluent in French and so he understood the whole thing (I cannot imagine a non-gay American dude sitting through the subtitles in this film…); (3) French films almost always have nudity in them and PJ was totally game to see if he could catch a glimpse of Tautou Tit in this one. Honestly, I can’t remember if there was or not, but I am betting there was. What can I say, I am a chick and I really do not pay a whole lot of attention to this. I remember the clothes were very pretty!

b. This is a movie for one or more of the following people:

(1) Hard-core Audrey Tautou fans. That’s hard-core FANS, not Audrey *doing* hardcore.

(2) Die-hard Chanel fashionistas — those who know everything there is to know about Coco already and want to see the early part of her life reenacted on film.

(3) Folks *really* into All Things French, and who can’t pass up a film from France that is actually *released* in the States, an occurrence that seems to be rare in the last 10-15 years.

(4) People like me: a chick who was interested in learning more about Coco Chanel and seeing prettiness in a movie. I was satisfied on both counts. If you are like me, though, and don’t know French very well, be sure to see a subtitled version and you will get more out of the experience.

One more thing about this and then on to Movie Number 2, which I saw yesterday afternoon.

I really wish the biopic would have gone a little longer into Coco’s life. It was good for me to see the origins of Coco and Chanel, but I really was left wondering, “What happened later?” I wanted the rest of the story. I have heard other films have been done about Coco *after* Chanel, it makes me want to search out these other films about Coco’s life, or read a biography or something. I was left a bit wanting at the end of this film, but understand that this film was covering just the beginning and had to stop somewhere. Also, maybe it was because I could not comprehend 100%, but it seemed like the movie took for granted at least a passing familiarity with Coco’s life *outside* of the film, something I did not have going into it. I wonder if anyone seeing the film and also not knowing a lot about Coco feels the same way. If you can leave input about this here, I would be interested!

Here are some links in English about the movie I ran into last Friday when the film opened in the States:


LA Observed

USA Today

Huffington Post


PJ and I saw my second film only in French in a theater yesterday. This film is called, in French «Le dernier pour la route». The film’s website is, but it is only  in French. Here is a review in French from Premier Magazine online.  I have tossed it into Google Translate and transmogrified it into this:

Hervé patron of a news agency decides to do away with alcohol. Far from everything and from others, he managed to fight his addiction, starting again to a new life. Adapting the autobiographical book by Hervé Chabalier “The latest for the road,” depicts his fight against alcoholism.

LOL. I love how Google Translate sounds like such a French person speaking English. 😀

Okay, this film was *very* dialogue-driven, and it really challenged my budding French skilz, if you could even call them that. Actually, I was surprised during the film that there were sentences in entirety which I understood, not *just* a word here and there.  My comprehension has improved a tiny bit since seeing “Coco Before Chanel” in May.

I went as PJ was interested in this movie and I really wanted to try another all-French movie, too. This one was very touching in its subject matter and delivery, and while some of the characters in the film were kind of also caracatures, I really liked this movie. It gave a realistic portrayal (visually and from what I could tell of the dialogue) of what it is to be an alcoholic, and then an alcoholic going into rehab. It was not heavy-handed, not overly “preachy,” just an honest portrayal of what it is to be an alcoholic trying to not drink anymore. I enjoyed the movie a lot. I doubt this one will make it to the States (neither Marion Cotillard nor Audrey Tautou is in it, lol), but I wish it would. I think it should have a wider audience in the world, and therefore a wider audience of people whose lives have been touched by alcohol abuse.

I have yet another post still incomplete in draft form brewing about about Celiac Disease and Me, things I am discovering about secondary or “masked” intolerances that have surfaced since stopping gluten, and also on what I have learned about Candida/Candidiasis and how I can beat this imbalance that seems to be ruling my life right now. That will have to be for a later date as I have to go reheat some leftover spaghetti for Peej’s supper and figure out what in the heck I am going to eat tonight. Pretty much my choices are chicken and rice, or rice and chicken. Haha. More on that in the next post…

Until then, hope you are all staying chillaxed.

Peace out.

Categories: Movies in Paris | Tags: , , , ,

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5 thoughts on “Coco Before Chanel & One for the Road

  1. Dramatizations of actual events are a little looser with the facts than documetaries, so unless I have a good grasp of the subject, I really prefer the Biography Channel unless it is the performance I am after such as those wonderful renaissance era pieces.

    All things concidered, I find that second movie an interesting choice and one that I could get something out of even though my addictions are other than alcohol.

    • pariskarin

      Hey Ken! Thanks for coming by! I appreciate it a lot. I was just thinking that this blog was seeming kind of “dead” and then you came along and commented, yay! I’m going to try to post more today to keep this going as much as I can muster.

      I’d love to have the Bio Channel. I bet the most interesting stuff is on there. Yes, if it’s facts one wants then documetary-style is it, but there is a lot to be said for prettiness in movies, too! Kind of like Keira Knightley in “The Duchess,” too. Accruate? Maybe, kinda. Pretty? Definitely.

      Yeah, that second movie was a really touching one and I think that a general audience would get a lot out of it, even though its focus is narrow. It was so well-acted (as far as I could tell!).

      Thanks again, Ken.

  2. I totally feel your “don’t want to drink because where will I PEE?” pain. It wouldn’t be such an issue but if I get dehydrated, I get a headache, which means taking my RX pain pills that retail for $20 @. (fortunately, not that expensive with my insurance but they’ll only give me nine a month, so I don’t want to use them.)

    We were in Munich last month and I was thrilled when I found the Starbucks. Free peeing. For as much money as I have spent at Starbucks, I feel entitled to pee there at will.

    • pariskarin

      Hi Class! I’m so glad you stopped by and commented! Oh isn’t it awful what NOT peeing can do to a body, argh! And I agree about the Starbucks thing. When my son visited here in Paris, I did the Starbucks Strategy of peeing in their potty, too, lol. I used it as an excuse to buy a drink, though, haha. I don’t have it so often here as it is even pricier than back “home.”

      I seriously should write a post about how and where to pee in Paris! I need to do some more research first, though, haha!

      Thanks again, Class. I’m off to check out your blog now, too! 😉

      • That would be an exelent, useful and probably much sought after tool. There have been restroom maps of San Francisco (with rating systems) and I’ve seen them of various other places (there may already be one of Paris, but just like anything else, the more there are the easier to find one when you need one). Although I might find it sad if, for all of your wonderful writings and pictures, you became a “web celeb” because of your potty map (ok, more likely I would be terribly amused).

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