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New Keira Knightley movie ‘Colette’ explores how financial troubles helped ruin a celebrity marriage

The new movie “Colette,” which just got bought by Bleecker Street and 30WEST for a mid-seven-figure sum for release later this year, following its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, is many things: A biopic of France’s most celebrated female author. A racy period drama. A timely look at gender inequality. And a star vehicle for Keira Knightley, which might well put her in awards contention next year.

Yet “Colette” is additionally a study of how the pursuit of money can drive, and derail, a marriage. In 1893, at the age of 20, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Knightley) married the unscrupulous literary entrepreneur Henry Gauthier-Villars, nicknamed Willy, 14 years her senior and played in the film by Dominic West, best known for his roles in TV dramas “The Affair” and “The Wire.

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