Coco Chanel On Lifetime TV: Critiques of a Biopic {The 5th Sense in the News}

Coco-Chanel-MacLaine.jpgAs all Chanel devotees and cultural observers are waiting with baited breath for the upcoming biopics (three, no less) about Coco Chanel, including the one by Anne Fontaine starring Audrey Tautou, Coco Avant Chanel, Lifetime Television was all ready to show their own version the past weekend. And according to Matthew Gilbert, it did not smell of anything much,

"Coco Chanel," tonight at 8, also doesn't feel like the story of a fashion icon, never mind one who revolutionized women's clothing. The movie, "freely inspired" by Chanel's life, plays like a generic, picturesque, gauzy tale of romance in France during the first half of the 20th century, with world war, and not world fashion, as the backdrop. The heroine's name could as easily be Smith as Chanel. There are castles and horses and bucketloads of l'amour, all loosely strung around a few vague facts about Chanel's life. Let's hope that Lifetime's "Project Runway," due next year after the series finishes on Bravo, is less beside the point. Lifetime appears to think viewers will have little interest in the evolution of clothes design. (...)

The movie looks great, like a very extended perfume commercial. But it has no substance. Indeed, I don't think the owners of the Chanel label themselves could have made a more harmless movie."

Read more in Just A Faint Scent of the Woman...

David Wiegand is a little bit more tender, seeing enough pages taken out of fashion history books to quell his thirst for knowledge in this field...

"Although this may seem counterintuitive (which is a fancy of way of saying it may make no sense), the fact is that not all bad movies are really bad bad. There are some that are bad in a rather entertaining way. "Hello, Dolly!," for example, is a good bad movie, but "Hook" is just bad bad, and "Popeye" is worse worse. See? Comprenez-vous?"

Read more in The San Francisco Chronicle...

Just judging from the pictures, the costumes and makeup seem to suffer from a screaming lack of subtlety and elegance. See that picture in the stairwell, the girls are all wearing the same lipstick and eyeliner (!!), including Coco-Shirley MacLaine, and more than elegant, they are what I would call dolled up, nuance.

The movie will be on tonight again at 8 pm.

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2 Comments | Leave a comment

  1. I have something embarrassing to admit. I liked this movie. I even watched it more than once. There's a 4-hr version on LMN (Lifetime Movie Network), which is even better than the 3-hr version on Lifetime.

    I took the story for what it was. A story, not historical fact, just a nice little version-of-the-truth story about a well-known figure.

    That in and of itself, provides enough to make curious people look up more about Chanel herself. I did like the way the movie segued from its present to its past using the vintage technique.

    For what it's worth. Marine Delterme (Etienne's former girlfriend, Emilienne d'Alencon) had too few scenes and she stole the ones she was in. All eyes were on her in her scenes.

    Alex Hemingway

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