MCM: Louis Garrel

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French actor Louis Garrel came to my attention when he played a drop-dead gorgeous Robespierre in One Nation, One King. I was already in love, and then he turned up as Professor Bhaer in Little Women. Was he totally miscast as the older professor, even with the tweaked ending? Absolutely. Did I mind, since I got to stare at his beautiful nose and floppy dark hair? Not one teeny bit. He’s in Roman Polanski’s upcoming movie about the Dreyfus Affair, An Officer and a Spy, and despite Polanski being a dirtbag, Garrel plus a story that interests me means it’s definitely on my list!

Please to enjoy my new boyfriend:

 

Planetarium (2016)

In a supporting role in this story about two spiritualist sisters (one of whom is played by Natalie Portman) in 1930s Paris.

2016 Planetarium

Those eyebrows! That nose!

 

From the Land of the Moon (2016)

Set in late 1940s France, Marion Cotillard is a married woman who goes to convalesce, and falls in love — I think Garrel plays the guy she falls in love with.

2016 From the Land of the Moon

 

One Nation, One King (2018)

As the excessively well-dressed revolutionary Robespierre in this film set during the French Revolution.

2018 One Nation One King

That collar!

2018 One Nation One King

THAT WIG.

2018 One Nation One King

 

An Officer and a Spy (2019)

As real-life Alfred Dreyfus, a man falsely accused of espionage in 1890s France. His case stirred up major issues in France about anti-semitism.

2019 An Officer and a Spy

That mustache! (Note Jean Dujardin, who also gives me heart eyes)

2019 An Officer and a Spy

Looking all sharp in his uniform!

2019 An Officer and a Spy

I will not make a “drill me” joke.

 

Little Women (2019)

As the European professor who encourages Jo March to find her writer’s muse, and becomes her love interest.

2019 Little Women

Floppy hair!

2019 Little Women

It was meant to be cheesy?

2019 Little Women

He dances jigs!

 

Louis Garrel — yum or not?

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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.

24 Responses

  1. Nzie

    Yeah the LW casting was a bit odd but I liked him well enough in it. :-) He did seem too young. Hearing he really is French I feel like I might have to head canon him being from one of those disputed territories…

    Reply
    • NuitsdeYoung

      Yes: being French but with a German name would work by c 1870 for him being a refugee from Alsace in the Franco-Prussian War.

      Reply
    • MoHub

      Casting someone that young as Professor Bhaer violates what Alcott was doing. She didn’t want Jo to marry at all, but publisher pressure told her she had to do it, so to spite the public, she had Jo pair up with a much older man rather than a young buck.

      Reply
  2. Colleen

    I adore Louis. I first saw him in The Dreamers, and have watched his movies since. I haven’t been able to see most of them lately because getting access to French films is becoming increasingly difficult (I used to be able to watch them on IFC, but that was over ten years ago), and they never are available for streaming legally.

    Reply
  3. Roxana

    Robespierre was no where near that good looking! And neither was Dreyfus! If the latter had been that dishy he’d have had every heterosexual woman in France supporting him!

    Reply
    • NuitsdeYoung

      Robespierre was a cutie (more pixie-nosed than Louis Garrel) and had hordes of screaming fangirls at the time (probably to his embarrassment, as he was rather shy and lived quietly as a lodger with his girlfriend’s family). They used to pack the galleries of the Convention and Jacobin Club to cheer him on and boo his opponents. There is a physionotrace taken directly from his profile by J-B Fouquet, engraved by Chrétien, and a superb terracotta bust from life by Claude-André Deseine.
      https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Robespierre_-_physionotrace.jpg
      and
      https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Bust_of_Robespierre_by_Claude-André_Deseine,_MRF_1986-243

      Reply
        • NuitsdeYoung

          It was done from life in 1791. The sculptor, Claude-André Deseine, didn’t do a formal sitting but based it on observing him over a period of time in debates in the Jacobin Club. Hence it’s so dynamic, as if in mid-speech.

          Reply
        • Aleko

          You’re basing that on the death mask, presumably? That simply can’t be him; not only does it not look anything like any of the authentic contemporary portraits or caricatures of him, its proportions simply do not map on to the physionotrace. It’s another man entirely.

          It’s true that Robespierre did have smallpox aged 6, but I don’t think any contemporary descriptions of him mention any disfigurement from it. Of course, smallpox was so prevalent in the period that a few pockmarks were probably too normal to be worth mentioning. But when you compare Deseine’s busts of him and Mirabeau (who had smallpox at 3 and was badly marked), it’s very noticeable that the artists has made no attempt to conceal Mirabeau’s scarring.

          Reply
    • Victoria Hannah

      The second handsome actor I’ve seen play a relatively plain and “nerdy” Dreyfus. The first was Jose Ferrer. I think it’s hard to cast someone who looks so, so utterly bookish, so it’s inevitable that there has to be someone more handsome than the real life person in the role. Mr. Garrel looks certainly handsome, and I am interested in comparing how he pulls it off as a relatively inexperienced actor compared to Mr. Ferrer who at the time was already a well-respected, established actor, Academy Award and Tony winner who had already a 15 to 20 something year career behind him.

      Reply
  4. NuitsdeYoung

    It’s a pity they gave him short hair under the wig as Robespierre, given how long Max’s real hair was: from the Deseine bust and an August 1793 engraving, his hair would have been down to base of shoulder blades…

    Reply
  5. Melanie

    Greta Gerwig gave an interview about why she cast a hottie as Professor Bhaer. She said it was deliberate—she likes looking at good looking men, and since there’s a loooong history of casting beautiful women as supposed plain characters, why shouldn’t it be done with men too? He does look a bit young, but he’s ten years older than Saoirse Ronan, so that works for me!

    Reply
    • NuitsdeYoung

      Yup, there’s an age-gap, though not as big as in the book (nor as between Winona Ryder and Gabriel Byrne).

      Reply
  6. NuitsdeYoung

    The jigging is very Max… He used to dance with the farm-girls at village fêtes… (‘hoof around’ – ‘gambader’ – is the verb he uses.)

    Reply
  7. Lady Murasaki

    Unrelated but I HAD to ask… Can you analyze Rise of Empires: Ottoman? It’s a mini docuseries about the fall of Constantinople and it’s on Netflix. Much better than Last Czars, I promise! I’d love to know what Frock Flicks thinks about the costumes and after you analyzed the soapy mess that is Magnificent Century I thought it could be interesting (the costumes are looking alright to my layman eyes so far). And Charles Dance narrates it so that’s a plus :D Love your work to death <3

    Reply
  8. Sam Marchiony

    A day late to the party, but here’s my take— I’ve only seen him in Planetarium and Little Women. Of the two, Little Women was the better movie in terms of narrative and character and whatever. But Planetarium had better costumes. And Natalie Portman is forever my WCW.

    Reply
  9. Lily Lotus Rose

    Like someone else said, I’ve been enthralled with him ever since “The Dreamers.” He is soooo handsome and sooo French. Tres bien!! I haven’t seen the newest iteration of “Little Women,” and I don’t know if I will. Even so, I agree that he’s too young for that role, though. But…did he have good chemistry with Saoirse Ronan’s Jo? Getting back to French hotties (there are sooo many!)… Whenever I think of Louis Garrell, I also think of Gaspard Ulliel (of Chanel cologne commercials fame). I don’t think they look alike, but to me they both evoke a simliar certain je ne sais quoi…a particular king of gallic sex appeal, I suppose.

    Reply

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