18th Century Quest: Lady J (2018)


Y’all, I really need to get back to my 18th-Century Quest, wherein I try to watch every historical costume film/TV show set in the 18th century. Which is probably a crazy goal. But thinking about it made me saddle up and force myself to watch Lady J, aka Mademoiselle de Joncquières, a 2018 French movie that’s recently come to Netflix. I’m not sure why I was putting it off — I feel like lately there’s been a spate of 18th century-set French films where the costumes are just too modern, maybe? Also it didn’t help that previews showed the lead guy with a completely anachronistic scruffy beard. Well, the modern thing came into play here, but color me surprised that I quite enjoyed this movie — with a few quibbles, of course!

Do you want to read all of this review (with nearly 2,000 words and 40 images) analyzing Lady J (2018) and 18th-century costume? The full post is available on Patreon for our subscribers! Check it out here. We’ll make this post available to everyone one year from today. Until then, only Patreon subscribers can view it!

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About the author



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.

10 Responses

  1. Damnitz

    I will try to see it. Sometimes these French production find their way on French TV-HPs.

    The Pictures are looking not really promising, although I like Cécile de France (what a name by the way :-D).

  2. Kate D

    I look forward to reading this post! I don’t see it up on your Patreon site yet, but maybe I just looked too soon.

  3. Andrew

    Ok but Mme de la Pommeroye’s motivation was so confusing to me. Like she has an affair with scraggly marquis, suspects he’s not into her anymore, and when she asks him, he admits that he isn’t, which apparently is SO INJURIOUS to her that she concocts a ridiculous revenge plot that of course blows up in her face. If they were trying to upend the trope of the older rich dude in period dramas being a creeper, then they succeeded, because I didn’t see anything in the story that made him unsympathetic (other than the whole trying-to-hook-up-with-reluctant-teenage-prostitute). Maybe something was lost in translation when adapting the original story.

  4. Nicolas

    I can tell why the actor doesnot wear a wig or have a beard: he is a major French actor and a diva very full of himself. So he certainly told them to fuck off with their wigs and shaving!

  5. Mizdema

    Despite the ugly beard, I enjoyed this movie, one year ago: the langage was pure and classical and so naturally spoken by the actors.
    Now, as soon as you can, find a way to watch Portrait of a lady on fire.Great movie.

    • Trystan L. Bass

      Hmm, the plugin should let you log in & take you back here to Frock Flicks where you can read the full post. Once you’ve logged in on Patreon, return to this page & reload it — if you still don’t see the full post, please let us know & we’ll troubleshoot further!

  6. Kira

    This might be the worst historical movie I’ve ever watched. My friends and I were so excited for it but none of the good things about it were good enough to redeem all the stuff we hated. Not one character was sympathetic in any way, maybe with the exception of the young prostitute’s mother, who actually acted like a real person. And when I see it hailed as subversive, it just makes me roll my eyes. Mme de la Pommeroye acts like so many similar characters in literature and movies, treating those less fortunate like pawns, The marquis is a sleek creep, who, of course, falls for an innocent girl, who’s really a prostitute (so original). The girl has no self respect whatsoever and is exactly the stereotype of the kind of self-pitying and long-suffering innocent those kinds of guys “change” for in media.

    I suppose the fact that the Mme’s plot wasn’t successful in the end and the slutty marquis was able to overlook his wife’s past (how good of him) was supposed to be some great twist, but you can literally see it from a mile away in this poorly done narrative. I don’t see anything original or subversive about someone who’s technically an antihero getting a surprise and undeserved happy ending. It’s been done a million times.


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