Here’s something you’ve seen before: Keira Knightley, dressed in Chanel and with her hair in a messy topknot. Here’s something you don’t see every day: dancing along to Cardi B’s "Bodak Yellow" and grooving to Fleetwood Mac’s "Dreams" at the Grey Goose Soho House event last night, following the TIFF premiere of her latest film, Colette. It was her co-star Dominic West who got the party started, though. Dominic has some moves.
At around 10:35 p.m., Dominic started shimmying to Outkast’s "Hey Ya!" and The Supremes’ "Can’t Hurry Love", before practicing some air guitar for "You Really Got Me". His favourite jam though? Madonna’s "Like a Prayer". For most of the party, Keira was seated on a couch in the VIP area. She got into the dancing spirit once Rosamund Pike in her black jumpsuit showed up at around 11:15 p.m.. Rosamund’s film A Private War premieres on Friday, and she spent most of the night schmoozing with Dominic and other VIPs. Jeffrey Wright and Alexander Skarsgard were there too.
But really, the Colette crew was revelling in the moment because their movie is solid, and they know it. Colette first screened at Sundance earlier this year and will hit theatres next Friday. In the film, Keira plays Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, a French farm girl who marries a successful Parisian writer and socialite, Willy (Dominic West). Together, they basically become the first celebrity couple. They loved attention, loved a good scandal, and loved to hold court. They were the Brangelina of Paris.
Willy had a stable of writers who would pen novels under his name and brand, but when their ideas (and his money) dried up, he looked to his wife’s life for inspiration. Her semi-autobiographical books, the Claudine novels, put a spotlight on young female sexuality and desire, and quickly went viral before that was even a thing. Soon, everybody wanted to act and dress like Claudine. Much like Big Eyes, Willy takes all the credit for his wife’s work. And as Colette tires of Willy’s infidelity, she begins to explore her own sexuality and gender fluidity at the turn of the 20th century.
It’s a true story, quite empowering. Keira is superb here, showing Colette’s evolution from a meek plus-one to a feisty advocate for the female voice and form. And Dominic basically plays the OG version of his character Noah Solloway from The Affair, fooling around and brazenly acting like a know-it-all writer despite the limitations of his talent. He’s somehow slippery, yet loveable. The film feels fresh, and Keira livens up the movie to help it transcend its period piece vibes. Without her, it would probably be forgettable – but wow, is Keira fun to watch.
Earlier in the day, Keira talked about how period dramas get a bad reputation. She thinks it’s because they’re predominantly female-centric stories but says that’s where she often finds the best roles. Gender bias or not, it’s possible Colette could help break the mold, at least in part.
I’ve missed seeing Keira around. Save for her Pirates cameo, she was last in a marquee title in 2016’s Collateral Beauty, and next up, she’ll play the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Yesterday on the red carpet, she told our etalk reporter Chloe Wilde that “[she’s] very pink in it!” so, that’s something to look forward to. And if you’re looking for a love update, she also told us that her husband is an “amazing cook.” Keira always brings the charm, and the fashion. Her navy Chanel cold shoulder dress was gorgeous in person, and I love that she stayed in it all night long.