Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -4

Mads Mikkelson, Anna Mouglalis. Dramatic biopic with subtitles. Written by Chris Greenhalgh, Carol De Boutiny, Jan Kounen. Directed by Jan Kounen.

FILM SYNOSPIS: The famed designer is mesmerized by the avant-garde Russian musician and invites the struggling composer and his family to stay at her summer cottage. Soon, she is having an affair with the married man.

PREVIEW REVIEW: As you know by now, I love a movie that engages the mind, not just the testosterone level. Well, here’s a drama, one filled with strong performances and a sumptuous look. And wow, this filmmaker has the guts to tell his tale with a deliberate pace (no disrespect, but most young viewers would be bored, calling it slow rather than deliberate). With it’s savory set design and cinematography, it had a feel of the Merchant/Ivory films of a decade past (A Room With A View, Remains of the Day, Howard’s End). I would love to recommend it for mature viewers who appreciate storytelling, except for two areas of disappointment. While it takes its time showcasing the set and art decoration, not much really happens with the plotline. Coco and Igor have an affair and it breaks his wife’s heart. That’s about it. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of character growth or even subtext, just a discordant relationship, much like Stravinsky’s music. And secondly, there are four sex scenes between the adulterers, each becoming progressively more graphic. These scenes are not necessary, as it would have been more creative using a suggestive glance here or an evocative word there. The sex scenes resemble a porn movie, or more frankly, the viewing of two dogs instinctively procreating. At no point did I sense a true love, or even affection between the two leads. They seemed obsessed, but not in love. And the wife grudgingly accepts it, begging Coco not to do anything that will hurt her husband’s music. Maybe that’s the lesson, that the artist is above the rules of common decency. Nah, that wouldn’t be the lesson, would it?

DVD Alternative: Howard’s End (1992). Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson. Period drama about a placid and thoughtful look at the mores of the English aristocracy circa 1920s. A Masterpiece Theatre-type production rich with passion, conflict and taste. PG (adult subject matter, but contains no obscenity, nudity or excessive violence).

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Sony Pictures Classics

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: I caught none.

Obscene Language: The b-word is used once to describe several unruly women.

Profanity: I caught no profanity.

Violence: None, except for volatile arguments between angry lovers.

Sex: Four graphic sex scenes

Nudity: Nudity in each of the sexual encounters, plus a woman exposes her breasts at a drunken party.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Drinking throughout, often to excess; smoking throughout.

Other: None

Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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