Coco Chanel. Igor Stravinsky. Two iconoclasts whose contributions to their respective artistic fields left an indelible mark on the 20th century. Did you know they used to bone? After a lengthy staging of the disastrous 1913 premiere of The Rite of Spring (the sole sympathetic set of ears in the audience belonging to the youngish Chanel), Stravinsky jumps ahead a decade. Lacking love, hotshot Coco (Anna Mouglalis) turns workaholic like a proper rom-com heroine; Igor (Mads Mikkelsen), an unpopular genius, is living in squalid exile. She invites him, his sickly wife, and offspring to move into her country estate, and soon the two artists are furiously humping on the piano. "Your music has more passion," sneers Mrs. Stravinsky, willing to accept the dalliance if it's good for the canon—up to a point. Lit like a David Fincher music video and shot with a gliding camera approximating a wandering eye, Stravinsky strains to convince that its lascivious pleasures have historical import. In the film's 1:1 correlation between erotic indulgence and creative innovation, hot, home-wrecking sex is justifiable only if it directly leads to the invention of Chanel No. 5. Stravinsky is the second corset-ripping French-language romance about the legendary fashion designer to hit American screens in seven months. Here, Coco is cast as a femme fatale who preys on a helpless nebbish—the Audrey Tautou–starring Coco Avant Chanel was much more fun.
Mikkelsen as the haughty composer.
Opens at Guild 45, Fri., July 9. Rated R. 118 minutes.