Coco Before Chanel

Coco Before Chanel

French theatrical release poster
Directed by Anne Fontaine
Produced by Simon Arnal
Caroline Benjo
Philippe Carcassonne
Carole Scotta
Written by Anne Fontaine
Camille Fontaine
Based on Chanel and Her World by
Edmonde Charles-Roux
Starring Audrey Tautou
Benoît Poelvoorde
Alessandro Nivola
Marie Gillain
Emmanuelle Devos
Music by Alexandre Desplat
Cinematography Christophe Beaucarne
Edited by Luc Barnier
Haut et Court
France 2 Cinéma
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures (France)
Sony Pictures Classics (United States)
Release dates
  • 22 April 2009 (2009-04-22)
Running time
105 minutes
Country France
Language French
Budget $19,430,000
Box office $50,813,834[1]

Coco Before Chanel (French: Coco avant Chanel) is a 2009 French film about the early life of famed French fashion designer Coco Chanel. French actress Audrey Tautou stars as Chanel. Coco avant Chanel was directed and co-written by actor turned director Anne Fontaine.

The film was first released in April 2009 in France. As of 21 December that year, it had grossed $43,832,376 worldwide.[1] The production budget was $23 million.[2]

Instead of releasing Coco Before Chanel in the United States itself, Warner Bros. Pictures let Sony Pictures Classics handle the release there.[3] The film grossed $6 million in the United States.[2][4]

Coco Before Chanel was nominated for four BAFTA Awards, three European Film Awards, six César Awards and the Academy Award for Best Costume Design.


Several years after leaving the orphanage where her father abandoned her, a young Gabrielle Chanel finds herself working in a provincial bar. She is both a seamstress for the performers and a singer, earning the nickname 'Coco' from the song she sings nightly with her sister. A liaison with the charismatic Baron Balsan (Belgian actor Benoît Poelvoorde) gives her an entry into French high society, and a chance to develop her gift for designing increasingly popular hats.

Coco falls in love with English businessman Arthur Capel (American Alessandro Nivola, who learnt French especially for the film), unaware that he is betrothed to a woman in England. Capel believes in Coco's talent making hats and her refusal to follow the whims of fashion; as he says to Coco, "There's no one else like you". As Coco's business flourishes and life is going well, Capel dies in a car accident; she is devastated. However, Coco still has the business that Capel helped her start as a reminder of their love.



Roger Ebert praised the film for its unsentimental approach to Chanel's early years.[5] English critic Philip French found the film handsomely designed, tasteful, reserved, and rather dull.[6] One hundred twenty-six critics on website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an average rating of 63%.[7] The film's average on Metacritic from reviewers was 65% as of 6 December 2012, with a 69% rating from general users of the website.


Awards and nominations

Date of ceremony Award Category Recipients and nominees Result
October 17, 2009[8][9] World Soundtrack Awards Film Composer of the Year Alexandre Desplat Won
December 12, 2009[10] European Film Awards Prix d'Excellence Catherine Leterrier (Costume design) Nominated
Best Composer Alexandre Desplat Nominated
People's Choice Award for Best European Film Coco Before Chanel Nominated
December 21, 2009[11] St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Awards Best Foreign Language Film Coco Before Chanel Nominated
December 23, 2009[12] Oklahoma Film Critics Circle Awards Best Foreign Language Film Coco Before Chanel Won
January 15, 2010[13] Broadcast Film Critics Association Award Best Foreign Language Film Coco Before Chanel Nominated
February 14, 2010[14][15] Online Film & Television Association Awards Best Costume Design Catherine Leterrier Nominated
February 15, 2010[16][17] Étoiles D'or du Cinéma Français Best Film Composer Alexandre Desplat Won
February 20, 2010[18] Golden Reel Awards Best Sound Editing in a Feature Foreign Language Film Jean-Claude Laureux
Franck Desmoulins
Anne Gibourg
Sylvain Malbrant
Claire-Anne Largeron
Pascal Chauvin
February 21, 2010[19] British Academy Film Awards Best Film Not in the English Language Coco Before ChanelNominated
Best Actress in a Leading Role Audrey TautouNominated
Best Costume Design Catherine LeterrierNominated
Best Makeup and Hair Thi Thanh Tu Nguyen
Madeleine Cofano
Jane Milon
February 25, 2010[20] Costume Designers Guild Awards Excellence in Period Film Catherine LeterrierNominated
February 27, 2010[21] César Awards Best Actress Audrey TautouNominated
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Benoit Poelvoorde Nominated
Best Writing - Adaptation Anne Fontaine
Camille Fontaine
Best Photo Christophe Beaucarne Nominated
Best Costumes Catherine Leterrier Won
Best Set design Olivier Radot Nominated
March 7, 2010[22] Academy Awards Best Costume Design Catherine Leterrier Nominated
February 5, 2011[23] Magritte Awards Best Supporting Actor Benoît Poelvoorde Nominated


  1. 1 2 "Coco Before Chanel (2009)". The Numbers. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
  2. 1 2 "Coco Before Chanel". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  3. Jaafar, Ali (17 April 2009). "Hollywood biz without borders". Variety.
  4. Tobias, Scott (19 November 2004). "Foreign affairs". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on July 3, 2009. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
  5. "Coco Before Chanel". Chicago Sun Times.
  6. French, Philip (2 August 2009). "Coco Before Chanel". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  7. "Coco Before Chanel (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  8. "World Soundtrack Awards: Awards for 2009". IMDb. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  9. "Awards - Film Composer of the Year: Awards archive - Film Composer of the Year: 2009". Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  10. "European Film Awards 2009". Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  11. "St. Louis Film Critics: 2009 - St. Louis Film Critics' Awards". Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  12. "Oklahoma Film Critics Circle Awards: Awards for 2009". IMDb. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  13. "15th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards (2010) – Best Picture: The Hurt Locker: Best Foreign Language Film". Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  14. "Awards Information Page: 14th Annual Film Award Winners" (in French). Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  15. "2009: The Year Of The Hurt Locker". Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  16. "Etoiles d'Or de la Presse du Cinéma Français 2010 (édition n°11)" (in French). Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  17. "Étoiles d'Or: Awards for 2010". IMDb. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  18. "Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA: Awards for 2010". IMDb. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  19. "BAFTA Awards Search: 2010". Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  20. "Costume Designers Guild Awards: Awards for 2010". IMDb. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  21. "Palmares 2010 - 35th Cesar Award Ceremony". Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  22. "Oscars Ceremonies: The 82nd Academy Awards - 2010: Winners & Nominees - Costume Design". Oscars. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  23. "Les Magritte du Cinema – Archives: 2011 - Les Nominés" (in French). Retrieved December 9, 2014.

External links

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