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Knightley is sometimes accused of playing the same historical role over and over again — an accusation that relies on the belief that Anna Karenina and Elizabeth Bennet and the Duchess of Devonshire and Cecilia Tallis and Colette are the same person, simply because they are dressed in period clothing. Yet they are unified by Knightley’s embodiment of them, as well as the larger idea she represents: that of women ostensibly performing a version of proper womanhood — all while quietly negotiating, or cracking under, the weight of doing so.Colette offers Knightley’s least quiet, most bombastic negotiation of proper womanhood to date.“Not many are coming my way,” she says, surprisingly. There are a lot of great actresses and everybody is looking for the interesting stuff.” Nevertheless, in the wake of #Me Too, and the call for equal pay and more female-oriented projects, has she sensed a sea change? Oliver Duff, Editor By entering your email address and clicking on the sign up button below, you are agreeing to receive the latest daily news, news features and service updates from the i via email.
She dated her Pride & Prejudice costar Rupert Friend for years, but little was known of their relationship, apart from the fact that the paparazzi liked to take pictures of them on the beach together.
I’d never had an acting teacher.” She recently admitted that criticism of her performances needled her – even after winning an Oscar nod for her work as Elizabeth Bennet in Joe Wright’s 2005 Jane Austen adaptation Pride & Prejudice.
“I felt I was worthless.” Hounded by the paparazzi, and faced with persistent comments about her weight, Knightley suffered a breakdown at 22, diagnosed with post-traumatic stress.
Colette, the new film about the life of famed French author Gabrielle Colette, resembles so many other historical biopics of men and women with expansive personal lives and achievements: It’s gorgeously costumed, transporting in its set design, and struggles to find a suitable, sensical ending.
But it has something else to recommend it that will make many people I know see it, regardless of reviews: Keira Knightley, jaw firm as ever, very convincingly playing the part of a woman from another century.
Both made her particularly amenable to casting as a kind of refined human clothes hanger in historical epics over the course of the 2000s: King Arthur, Pirates of the Caribbean, Pride & Prejudice, a billion more Pirates of the Caribbeans, The Edge of Love, Atonement, Silk, and The Duchess.