Violette review

When Violette met Simone

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Ever thought how cool life would be as author? Martin Provost’s lengthy but beautifully played biopic of mid-20th-Century writer/emotional maelstrom Violette Leduc (Emmanuelle Devos) will set you straight. Spanning 20 years of Leduc’s life, it shows how mother issues, squalid living and the unrequited hots for feminist thinker Simone de Beauvoir (Sandrine Kiberlain) made her successes hard-won.

The slog is palpable, the haul long, but lit-pic clichés (no inspirational montages) are cannily dodged. And the focus on wordsmith over words is spectacularly well-served by Devos, whose volcanic expression of inner frustration will put you off writing forever.

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Freelance writer

Kevin Harley is a freelance journalist with bylines at Total Film, Radio Times, The List, and others, specializing in film and music coverage. He can most commonly be found writing movie reviews and previews at GamesRadar+.