Sundance’s Transgressive Women Take Two Very Different Paths in Colette and Lizzie

So you’re a queer woman at the turn of the century—the last century, that is. You’re hemmed in by patriarchy and strict moral codes. And yet you have this transgressive fire in you. What do you do with it? Do you start a writing career, or do you murder your parents? This year’s Sundance Film Festival presents both of those options in the form of Colette and Lizzie , biopics of a sort about two very different women confronting their circumstances in bold fashion. Colette came as a surprise to me. I’m a bit allergic to biopics about writers, because, frankly, writing isn’t very interesting. Sure the end product can be, but who wants to watch someone sit at a desk for two hours? Just go read the damn book. Also, tasteful literary period pieces starring movie stars—in this case Keira Knightley —have their place, but that place is not Sundance, where the new and the daring are supposed to get prime focus. Yet Colette proved the perfect balm for a frigid Utah morning. Director Wash Westmoreland’s film has a swift, sparkling comportment, detailing the early adulthood of the famed French writer Colette as she marries, moves to Paris, […]

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