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MSRP: $14.99
Rated: PG
Running Time: 139 minutes
Special Features
Behind the Scenes Featurette


The Pitch

Fashion designer Coco Chanel falls in and out of
love for fifty years or so. Winds up alone.

The Humans

Barbora Bobulova, Shirley MacLaine, Malcom
McDowell, Brigitte Boucher

The Nutshell

After a troubled childhood, Gabrielle Chanel
moves from obscurity to become one of the fashion icons of the 20th
century. Cue tumultuous affairs, sappy score and nice clothes. Everyone loves her until she’s revealed as being a Nazi conspirator. Well, it wasn’t her fault. She grew up poor and learned how to manipulate men from a young age. We get to see as Chanel burns through men and homes, as she pushes further and further into fashion history.

The Lowdown

Shirley MacLaine was nominated for an Emmy for
her portrayal of the older Coco Chanel in this made for television flick that
is about as exciting to watch as a film about a fashion designer can get. Lifetime chose to work their way around a lot of the tricky areas, while never really humanizing Chanel. A lot of these actions had to do with the House of Chanel having such strict supervision over this film. No one would dare to question Chanel’s judgment or screwing around, if it’s portrayed as romanticized journeys. I’m not going to say that Chanel was a bad woman, it’s just that she lived a life that her company wants to cover up.


The jist of the tale is fairly simple: Chanel lifts
herself from being a typical saloon singer during early 20th century
Paris and marries into an elite family. Not content with her existence, she
rebels against her set role in life and opens a boutique. She becomes and
international sensation but follows her heart into and out of romance. What do you really expect? It’s a Lifetime movie. MacLaine
plays a French woman with nary an accent and scores an Emmy nomination.
Meanwhile, McDowell plays the poor sap that has to sit and hear her story.
Bobulova just has to read her lines. One does have to admit that Bobulova looks a hell of a lot like Anna Friel.


This isn’t an awful movie. It’s just bland, lifeless. Oh well, you can always catch Audrey Tautot in Coco Before
, or check out the new film Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky, which
focuses on her relationship with the famed Russian composer. A lot of this can be found rather easily on Netflix, but you might have to do a little leg work to find some of the Chanel documentaries. There’s a fascinating world out there loaded with information on this important woman. 

The Package

It’s a made for television movie from Lifetime,
so don’t expect vibrant colors or excessive detail. The transfer does the job.
No edge enhancement to my eyes. It’s all fairly competent. The stereo track
also does the trick. There’s a five minute making of featurette which seems to
be about as long as it took for this film to even be produced.

5.0 out of 10