WCW: Elle Fanning


Here’s part two of my question to untangle sisters Dakota Fanning and Elle Fanning in my head!


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Brad Pitt plays a man who ages backward. Elle Fanning plays the young version of his love interest (the adult is played by Cate Blanchett).

2008 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

I have no idea what era this is supposed to be, but I’m thinking it’s oldey timey?



The Nutcracker: The Untold Story aka The Nutcracker in 3D (2010)

Fanning plays “Mary,” who seems to be the renamed Clara in this feature film.

2010 The Nutcracker- The Untold Story

Beachy waves at such a young age!

2010 The Nutcracker- The Untold Story

Are we going 1920s with this?


Trumbo (2015)

As teenage daughter of blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo’s in the later (1950s?) scenes.

2015 Trumbo

Period-appropriate but boring! © Bleecker Street. CR: Hilary Bronwyn Gail / Bleecker Street.


Live by Night (2016)

Fanning plays Loretta Figgis in this 1920s-30s gangster movie. Her character seems to be a fictionalized take on Aimee Semple McPherson (a fascinating figure — google her if you haven’t heard of her!)?

2016 Live by Night

Love the 1930s glam combined with stage drama!


Mary Shelley (2017)

As Gothic novelist Mary Shelley (1797-1851), author of Frankenstein, in a movie about her romance with poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.

2017 Mary Shelley

This is just SO 1990S to me!

2017 Mary Shelley

Okay at least the bonnet makes it look historical.

2017 Mary Shelley

Love the hat, but what’s up with the neckline ribbon?


The Beguiled (2017)

As a student at a Southern boarding school during the Civil War.

2017 The Beguiled


2017 The Beguiled

I can’t unsee them!

2017 The Beguiled


The Beguiled (2017)

Just hanging on the stairs.


The Great (2020)

As Catherine the Great (1727-96), soon-to-be Empress of Russia!

The Great (2020)

Such great hairstyles in this!

The Great (2020)

In a sort-of court gown.

The Great (2020)

Rocking the fur!

2020 The Great

Great satin, unfortunate boning application.

The Great (2020)


2021 The Great season 2

Get ready for season 2, where I guess they don’t have enough fabric for non-crop-top chemises?


What’s your favorite of Elle Fanning’s historical roles?


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.

3 Responses

  1. Charity

    I like her more than Dakota, to be honest. Love her in everything (including Maleficent!).

  2. Michael McQuown

    If it’s tje movie I saw, “Mary Shelley’ wasn’t so much about the Big Romance as it was about Shelley being given credit for having written the book, which was not originally published under her name. It was about female empowerment, not luuuv.

  3. Jose

    Talking about Aimee did we have a post on her yet? I saw the Faye Dunaway movie a few weeks ago and liked it very much
    I’m fascinated by her mystery was she a sainted victim or a real bitch?