Silence a woman and she’ll roar with a vengeance until her bonds are broken. At least that’s what happens in the thrilling trailer for Keira Knightley’s upcoming awards hopeful Colette, based on the real-life story of the titular Nobel Prize-nominated writer who rebelled against male manipulation and abuse as the era of modern literature dawned.
Released Wednesday, the three-minute preview for the period drama teases the impassioned true tale of one woman’s fight for equality, or at minimum, to be fairly recognized for her work. The film follows Colette (Knightley) after her husband, Henry “Willy” Gauthier-Villars’ (Dominic West), scores his biggest hit as an author with the novel Claudine à l’école. The book garnered national attention in France for its lead character’s ability to captivate a young, female audience at the turn of the 20th century. The only problem? Colette actually penned the book herself, but gets none of the credit.
“You’ve done something important. All of those young girls, you’ve given them a voice. You should own up to it,” an acquaintance tells an initially reticent Colette, whose confidence builds to a quiet rage of rebellion as the trailer progresses to include footage of a lesbian affair and increasingly volatile conflicts with her jealous spouse.
“You thought that I could never break free? Well, you’re wrong,” Colette says in voiceover as the clip concludes. “The hand that holds the pen writes history.”
Featuring lavish art direction from Oscar-nominated production designer Michael Carlin (The Duchess) and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Wash Westmoreland, who has long directed brilliant performances by leading women (including Julianne Moore’s Oscar-winning turn in Still Alice and Emily Rios’ breakout turn in Quinceañera), Colette debuted earlier this year to solid critical reviews in an awards-positioning slot at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The film also marks Westmoreland’s first directorial feature without his husband and frequent collaborator Richard Glatzer, who died from ALS-related complications in 2015.
Colette enters limited release Friday, Sept. 21. Check out the film’s full trailer above and its theatrical poster below.