Allied: The Good, The Great, and The Ugly

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Allied is a World War II-set film that came out in late 2016. All I really noticed about it was the poster, with star Marion Cotillard wearing a beautiful green silk charmeuse dress… but for some reason I didn’t get excited about it. Cue an 11 plane ride from Paris to San Francisco, and me working my way through all the historical stuff available on the in-flight entertainment, and you’ve got yourself a movie review!

I’m kind of glad I hadn’t seen the preview, so if you haven’t yet and you want to watch this film, don’t! It gives away a major plot point, which is such an irritation for me… especially since this plot point doesn’t come up until about 75% of the way through the movie.

Basically, Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard are resistance fighters for the Allies — she’s French, he’s Canadian but working for the British. They meet up in Casablanca where they’re both on the same assignment, and then things unfold from there. That’s all I’m going to tell you, plot-wise, to avoid spoilers!

 

Allied: The Good

Okay, so technically this should be subtitled “the good, the bad, and the ugly,” but really, I quite liked two out of three of the main elements of the film, so go with me here.

The good are the costumes, designed by Joanna Johnston (LincolnValkyrieSaving Private RyanFar and AwayBack to the Future Part III). That iconic green charmeuse dress IS really gorgeous, even more so as it moves, but there’s also a lot of other beautiful early-1940s wear on Cotillard.

Allied (2016)

Okay, so this is probably the pièce-de-résistance (see what I did there?) with its gorgeous seaming over the bust and hips. But also check out the fitted-wrist sleeves, and the applique…

and when it moves it looks like water!

Allied (2016)

Here’s Johnston’s design for the green dress, as well as a chic suit on the left…

Allied (2016)

…which was beautifully made, and perfect for a hot climate like Casablanca — you could feel how crisp and cottony it was.

Allied (2016)

Here’s designer Johnston posing with that same suit, as well as one of Pitt’s uniforms.

Allied (2016)

I thought this blue dress was nicely done — it looks straight out of a World War II-era photo, and is perfect for the occasion (no spoilers!).

Allied (2016)

There were lots of great subtle details, like the beaded appliques on this orange dress.

Allied (2016)

There was lots of other lovely evening wear, which I sadly can’t find pics of.

Allied (2016)

Like this purple number Marianne wears when we first meet her.

Allied (2016)

And it made me happy to see a pretty, period-appropriate bra on Cotillard.

Allied (2016)

The men’s costumes were well done too. Pitt managed to look dapper…

Allied (2016)

Which was really what was called for!

Allied (2016)

Someone more knowledgeable than me can tell me whether they messed up any details on the uniforms.

 

Allied: The Great

Marion Cotillard, man. I could watch her sit in a paper bag. That woman has TALENT and beauty and just about anything she does makes me happy.

Allied (2016)

When I grow up, can I be Marion Cotillard?

Also, Lizzy Caplan has a small part as Pitt’s sister, who is a lesbian and reveling in the anything-goes atmosphere of wartime London.

Allied (2016)

Hooray for historically accurate representations of LGBTQ people!

 

Allied: The Ugly

BRAD PITT. NOT A THESPIAN.

First of all, THE MAN IS NOT A PERIOD ACTOR. It’s nothing personal, he’s just SO modern, so when he tries to channel a historical period, it’s SO forced and awkward and NOT GOOD.

Allied (2016)

He tries! Oh, he tries.

Also, he’s supposed to be Canadian — from Toronto — but in Casablanca he’s supposed to be undercover as a Parisian. There’s actually a whole plot point where Cotillard tells him his French sounds totally Quebeçois and trains him on a Parisian accent, but let me tell ya, it seriously doesn’t improve. Whoever thought that Brad Pitt should speak French in public was not Making Good Choices.

Allied (2016)

Sorry, Marion. You can try to cover for him, but it ain’t working.

Allied (2016)

“Bon-joor. I am a block of wood.”

 

Have you seen Allied? What did you think?

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About the author

Kendra

Website

Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

19 Responses

  1. ladylavinia1932

    Sounds like Brad Pitt simply sucks at French. As far as period films go, he was great in “INGLORIOUS BASTERDS”. By the way, how was his Canadian accent? Because it sucked in “12 YEARS A SLAVE”.

    Reply
    • Gine

      Yeah, I find him enjoyable enough in roles that are more broad and humorous like in Inglorious Basterds, but his Serious Dramatic Actor attempts are painful to watch.

      Reply
  2. Susan Pola

    I will probably watch it as I also want to be Marion Cotillard when I grow up. Or Meryl or Emma. But the teal green dress looks amazing and extra plus points for the peplum bodice. So 1940s.

    Reply
  3. Shawna

    I’ve not seen this film yet but from all the trailers and posters I’ve looked at, Brad Pitt looks nothing at all like Brad Pitt. Is it just me? It’s been weirding me out!!

    Reply
    • Lady Nefertankh

      Not just you! I thought this film looked intriguing when I saw a commercial for it, but kept wondering “Who’s that actor…I know I’ve seen him before somewhere…” and thinking of all the dark haired, Caucasian leading men in Hollywood! I was shocked when I later saw Brad Pitt’s name on the poster!

      Reply
  4. Natalie

    I wanted to see this when it was in theaters but never got around to it. I’ve never been a huge Brad Pitt fan but I adore Marion Cotillard

    Reply
  5. Daniel Milford-Cottam

    Brad Pitt just really looks very out of place here – he just doesn’t have a 1940s face/look, but it’s hard to say why. I mean, obviously there must have been people around in the 1940s who looked like Brad Pitt, I mean, we see paintings of people who look incredibly “modern” for their period, or photographs that suggest that Keanu Reeves might possibly be a 1860s vampire….

    But, everyone else looks JUST right for the period – and then Brad’s there, and he looks SO out of place….

    Reply
    • Kendra

      I call it the “cornfed” look — blond, normal features, looks like you’re straight out of Iowa… not that there’s anything wrong with that! There were Iowans in many eras! But, yeah, it looks wrong for period film.

      Reply
  6. GinaP

    If you believe the tabs, there was a hot affair going on between Brad and Marion during the filming that precipitated the BIG DIVORCE! Both of them denied it of course. I haven’t seen the film, so I don’t know if there were any chemistry between the two.

    Reply
  7. themodernmantuamaker

    I’ve only seen the preview but am a bit interested in watching it for the CanCon (a Canadianism meaning Canadian Content). And now I’m curious to see if I can tell any difference between these supposed Quebecois vs Parisian accents!

    My husband and I watched the preview together, he’s in the Canadian Forces and I *think* he said that they got what uniform stuff you see in the preview correct. I *want* to say that he pointed out some tiny detail that was off – like maybe an insignia on the wrong shoulder or something like that – but can’t remember exactly. I know it was correct enough for him to instantly tell that Pitt’s character was Canadian military by what he was wearing.

    And I’m probably setting myself up for a world of tsk tsk-ing but I don’t know who Marion Cotillard is. Apparently I now need to go look her up!

    Reply
  8. Karen K.

    I may have to watch this just for Marion and the costumes and just fast-forward through all of Brad’s parts. He’s just not a great actor, and yes, he does look very Midwestern cornfed. I think he’s from Missouri. Why anyone thought this was great casting is beyond me.

    Reply
  9. whimbrel

    My husband pulled this up on Netflix tonight and it is gorgeous! The robes they both wear in the scene where she’s teaching him Parisian French were my favourites.

    Reply

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