Coco & Igor (Or: What’s black and white and about two complete jerks?)

“You don’t like colour, Mademoiselle Chanel?”
“As long as it’s black.”

(Best quote ever.)

I was right. Coco & Igor was gorgeous costume overload.

It was also gorgeous house overload.

Sadly, it was also complete jerk overload.

Basically, Coco Chanel invites Igor Stravinsky and his family to stay in her home. He pounds on the piano in tortured fashion, she sets out to create the perfect perfume, and the two of them have a torrid affair while his consumptive wifey stays in bed going over his compositions.

This is my favourite image from the film, when poor Katarina has her first inkling of how completely overwhelmed she is going to be by life with Coco Chanel:

The problem I had with this movie isn’t so much the adultery. They’re grown adults, they can do whatever they want. The problem I had was that no one in this film was even remotely likable. Moreover, neither Chanel nor Stravinsky had enough charisma to get me to care about them or want to watch them in spite of the fact that they were completely unlikable. There was no real chemistry, nothing to let me see into their hearts (if indeed they have hearts – which may well be the depressing point of the film). I spent the evening thinking that probably this film was made by someone who has been recently spurned – someone whose heart is still so broken that they can’t imagine love. For this is not a love story. It is a story of scorn and betrayal and cool power plays and selfish detachment and, yes, sex. But sex doesn’t seem worth watching if it lacks passion, and I felt none.

The opening scene – the disastrous Paris premiere of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring – is amazing, but everything that comes after lacks any sense of warmth or passion. Coco & Igor is possibly worth watching for the costuming and set design. It was, at times, overwhelmingly gorgeous, but it was also completely underwhelming.



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