Movie reviews: Knightley in top form for sparkling biopic 'Colette'

Film critic and pop culture historian Richard Crouse shares his take on four movies opening in cinemas across Canada this weekend: 'Colette' starring Dominic West and Keira Knightley, animated feature 'Small Foot,' the documentary 'My Generation' narrated by Michael Caine, and Kevin Hart's 'Night School.'

Bad theatre is like dentistry," declares critic and author Henry Gauthier-Villars (Dominic West). "You're compelled to sit in your chair, as they drill into your head, until the procedure is over." Luckily there is no such endurance test in "Colette," a sparkling biopic that shows star Keira Knightley in top form. 

"Colette" begins traditionally enough, with "Masterpiece Theatre" style attention to detail as the love affair between Parisian "literary entrepreneur" Gauthier-Villars, who goes by the nom-de-plume Willy, woos country girl Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Knightley). They soon marry, and after slowly adapting to life in the salons of the big city — "You must present your personality with a capital P," he says — she is drawn into the family business ghost writing a novel loosely based on her life. The resulting book, "Claudine √† l'√©cole," released under the Willy name, becomes a sensation, bringing in some much needed money.