June 23, 2024

Becoming Karl Lagerfeld Review 2024 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online

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Becoming Karl Lagerfeld Review 2024 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online

When an icon dies, you can almost hear the frantic keyboard strokes of screenwriters everywhere attempting to pen the next great biographical drama about their larger-than-life existences. After Karl Lagerfeld, the renowned German fashion designer, died in 2019, it seemed inevitable that his life would be torn apart at the seams and fashioned into an overwrought dramatization for mass consumption, and yet that isn’t what happened here. Loosely based on Raphaëlle Bacqué’s biography Kaiser Karl, released shortly after Lagerfeld’s death, Becoming Karl Lagerfeld presents a far more grounded examination of the man remembered best for his signature white hair and iconic black sunglasses.

Hollywood seems curiously interested in two things this year: World War II and the illustrious namesakes of the fashion brands that still hold social capital over the industry. Earlier this year, Apple TV+ debuted its somber exploration of the lives of Christian Dior and Coco Chanel, and now, Hulu is cutting into the personal lives of Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent, transforming the way consumers look at these fashion labels.

By design, Becoming Karl Lagerfeld is a rather glamorous series. There is no shortage of colorful 1970s couture or Lagerfeld’s own signature fashionable, yet gaudy, flare. However, the French television series, crafted by Isaure Pisani-Ferry, Jennifer Have, and Bacqué, uses all of that glamor and beauty as a façade, revealing Lagerfeld’s more somber and isolating impulses underneath.

Brühl has made a career out of starring in biographical dramas like Rush and Race for Glory: Audi vs. Lancia, and in roles inspired by real-life historical figures like All Quiet on the Western Front and The King’s Man, but Karl Lagerfeld is a role set apart from the rest. It may be a bold claim, but his performance in Becoming Karl Lagerfeld comes close to being his best to date, as it is easy to surrender to the idea that Brühl simply is Karl Lagerfeld here.

The series spans roughly ten years of Lagerfeld’s life, right at the rise of his career as a designer for Chloé and Fendi, before his work with Chanel would transform him into the Karl Lagerfeld that is remembered today. But Becoming Karl Lagerfeld isn’t interested in this aspect of his life, at least not the minutiae of it. Instead, the series zeroes in on interpersonal relationships without becoming too innately voyeuristic.

The series doesn’t play it safe when approaching Karl’s tumultuous relationship with Jacques de Bascher (Théodore Pellerin), nor does it shy away from the uglier aspects of their entanglement with Yves Saint Laurent (Arnaud Valois). While the series is entirely inoffensive in the way that it showcases these dynamics, audiences with more delicate sensibilities might take offense at the reminder that their favorite high-profile brands were born out of the messy, complex lives of some of the meanest gay men the fashion industry has ever seen. Perhaps that is the problem with today’s fashion scene; there are no more venomous divas bringing life, shape, and color to the industry.

In life, Lagerfeld was very private about his relationships with men and quite contradictory — going so far as to oppose gay marriage, despite being in decades-spanning relationships with men (though his opinions did evolve over time). While the series takes certain liberties with its portrayal of Karl and Jacques’ relationship, it does stay true to Karl’s insistence that their romance was never consummated. While the series is far from sexless, surprisingly, the most titillating scenes can be found within the quiet yearning and desperate pining shared by Brühl and Pellerin, who have incredible chemistry.

It would be easy to play Lagerfeld as a caricature. He was a deeply repressed man, who is oft-remembered for being cold, distant, and ever-ready with snide bons mots. He very much embodied the stereotypical persona of a German man immersed in the bitter rivalries of the Paris fashion scene. Here, however, Brühl plays against those stereotypes. While his Lagerfeld is every bit the casually cruel diva that the real man was, there is still a warmth to him. The series uses Lagerfeld’s disinterest in physical intimacy to paint him as a very insular man who was prone to isolation, and, in these scenes, Brühl gets to show off his acting chops. Whether he’s eating his feelings all alone in his bedroom or pretending to dance with Jacques while his lover is clubbing without him, there’s a different intimacy in these moments, one shared between Brühl and the lens.

Becoming Karl Lagerfeld might find itself in the same situation that The New Look faced in February. Audiences expect a series about an iconic fashion designer to focus on fashion, but that isn’t the case here, either. While you may find its titular subject sketching out sumptuous designs and parading around in fashionable fineries, Becoming Karl Lagerfeld isn’t a series about a fashion brand. It’s a series about the man behind that name — and his quarrelsome attitude makes him an infinitely compelling character to follow.

Depending on the episode, the series bounces between French, German, English, and Italian, which might dissuade American audiences from watching it on Hulu. While most of the civilized world has acclimated to reading subtitles, America is still lagging behind — and missing out on some excellent drama. Hulu is embracing the binge model again here, but it’s a wise decision in this instance, given that the six-episode series is very bingeable. The series is smartly written and well-cast, and despite breezing through ten years in six episodes, Becoming Karl Lagerfeld is never disjointed or rushed.

While the series may not be interested in fashion in the conventional sense, Becoming Karl Lagerfeld is a visual delight thanks to the expert costuming of Pascaline Chavanne, who recently worked on the well-received Monsieur Spade and the divisive Annette. The 1970s may seem recent to some, but with fifty years of retrospective reflection, Chavanne is able to capture the essence of the era’s fashion without making it a pastiche. It helps that the filmmakers seem keenly interested in making a period piece that could have been filmed then as well. Becoming Karl Lagerfeld might have the glossy patina of a Disney-backed series, but thanks to its humanity, heart, and grittiness, it doesn’t feel like a series pieced together in the present. Even if you aren’t interested in the life and times of Karl Lagerfeld, the series is absolutely worth watching if only for a forlorn Daniel Brühl running around a grandiose château like a lovestruck maiden, dressed in a nightgown and wielding a lantern.

Becoming Karl Lagerfeld Review 2024 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online