WCW: Juliette Binoche


Juliette Binoche sometimes can annoy me (she’s kind of Gerard Depardieu/Geoffrey Rush in her acting style for me), but she’s an absolute doyenne of French period flicks, so we really need to look at her oeuvre!


Wuthering Heights (1992)

As both Cathys in the late 18th century/early 19th century Emily Brontë classic.

1992 Wuthering Heights

Her dresses are good! It’s the hair that’s not.

Cathy - Wuthering Heights (1992)

Even when they’re trying.

Wuthering Heights (1992)

Stripes! Fichus! Hats!

Cathy Linton - Wuthering Heights (1992)


Cathy Linton - Wuthering Heights (1992)

No idea.


The Horseman on the Roof (1995)

I saw this, but so long ago I’ve forgotten except that it was bleak. As I wrote then: “Cholera, missing husbands, lots of running around the countryside.” Looking at the costumes now, they look spot-on for the 1830s.

1995 The Horseman on the Roof

Riding habit (okay, she needs a hat).

1995 The Horseman on the Roof

Same outfit? Nice gathers on the sleeveheads.

1995 The Horseman on the Roof

Hey, she found a hat! Photo by Fabian Cevallos/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images

1995 The Horseman on the Roof

Okay that’s a BEAUTIFUL fichu | Photo by Fabian Cevallos/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images


The English Patient (1996)

Binoche is the nurse who cares for a burned man during World War II; he tells her about a romance he had in earlier years.

Ann Roth - The English Patient (1996)

In uniform.

English Patient 1996

Très casual.

English Patient 1996

A dress is worn!


Children of the Century (1999)

She plays writer George Sand in this tortured romance. I’m tempted to give this one a whirl, although Sarah has already given it a full review…

Children of the Century (1999)

I mean, that’s so pretty!

The-Children-of-the-Century 1999

And we love a woman in menswear!


Chocolat (2000)

Binoche plays a chocolatière in 1959 village France.

2000 Chocolat

Nice transitional hair/headband, moving between 1950s and 1960s.

2000 Chocolat

Her wardrobe is very down-to-earth.


The Widow of Saint Pierre (2000)

Set in 1849 on some tiny French-controlled islands off the coast of Canada. As Wikipiedia summarizes, “Loosely inspired by an actual case, it tells the story of a disillusioned army officer whose love for his wife in her efforts to save a convicted murderer leads him to disobey orders.” It’s been forever since I’ve watched this, but apparently I enjoyed both the acting and costumes when I did.

2000 Widow of Saint Pierre

It’s cold, baby!

2000 The Widow of Saint-Pierre

Outerwear is a feature in this film.


Mary (2005)

A film within a film, wherein Binoche plays an actress playing Mary Magdalene.

2005 Mary

Sorry, no interest in biblical stuff.

2005 Mary

Unless it was the world’s most authentically researched production, which I doubt this is given the hair.


Camille Claudel 1915 (2013)

French sculptor Camille Claudel is institutionalized later in life (1915).

2013 Camille Claudel 1915

I guess that accounts for the drab!

2013 Camille Claudel 1915

At least there’s some variation.

2013 Camille Claudel 1915


Endless Night (2015)

As Josephine Peary, real-life Arctic explore who searches for her husband and befriends an Eskimo woman.

2015 Endless Night

I love “clash of cultures” movies, so I may check this out!

2015 Endless Night

Especially because – hat! Red!

2015 Endless Night


2015 Endless Night

Snow goggles!


Slack Bay (2016)

A comedy about a wealthy industrialist family who, at their summer home, interact with a family across the class divide.

2016 Slack Bay

GREAT hat trimmings!

2016 Slack Bay

Loving the skirt trim and parasol!

2016 Slack Bay

Lady in the middle looks great — I love black & white!

2016 Slack Bay

La famille.


How to Be a Good Wife (2020)

Binoche plays the headmistress at Van der Beck’s School of Housekeeping and Good Manners in Alsace against the background of the 1968 student protests.

2020 How to Be a Good Wife

Obviously she is the epitome of a good wife.

2020 How to Be a Good Wife 2020 How to Be a Good Wife

How do you feel about Juliette Binoche?


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.

8 Responses

  1. SarahV

    She is one of the most naturally beautiful women on Earth. She always looks so presentable and lovely with absolutely NO MAKE-UP. She however, is all SLAYAGE in that last set of photos from the 1960s. That pink suit is divine.

    • hsc

      Lovely woman, excellent actress.

      But I can never forget the “Oscar acceptance speech from Hell” moment when she won Best Supporting Actress for THE ENGLISH PATIENT– instead of the widely-predicted, “career-capping” win for Lauren Bacall– and proceeded to define the French term faux pas for the entire world.

      Even though it’s not a Frock Flick, her participation in the first of Krzysztof Kieślowski’s THREE COLORS trilogy– the BLUE segment– is a must-see, as is the entire trilogy and most of Kieślowski’s work.

  2. Gray

    Ooooo… that 1830s fiche IS gorgeous! But so is the rich green sheerstripe dress underneath!

  3. M.E. Lawrence

    I was surprised by how effective J.B. was as Cathy, her acting skills aside, maybe because she is so truly attractive and natural-seeming without being glam, and then glams up really well when she has to be ladylike. The hair, though…

    Unsolicited theory on The Long Hair Thing–apart from its being sexy and relatable and other nonsense: It’s what a relative once termed present-day Scots: fierce and primitive. Rural people back then were fierce and primitive, especially in northern climes. They didn’t know how to behave or dress. Therefore, they were shaggy. (Note that my relative had never been to Scotland. When he did visit, he was startled by how civilized and cultured it was.)

  4. Damnitz

    I never loved Juliette Binoche as I had the impression that she was in too many films. But I was very impressed by her great performance in “Le hussard sur le toit”. The love of her and Olivier Martinez is really tragic as it becomes clear that they will have to live lifes for their own. I loved the work of Arbogast’s camera showing the nice landscape of Southern France. However it’s not my period and I don’t know how accurate the costumes are.

  5. Joni

    Ever since someone on The Toast (RIP) pointed out that you can actually read Wuthering Heights as a daaaaark comedy, it’s become my favorite book, and as such I’ve never been fully satisfied with any adaptation of it. That said, the ’92 adaptation is pretty good – they actually film the WHOLE book, whereas a lot of other versions give you only the first half (which is totally missing the point IMHO). I thought Ms. Binoche was particularly good as the younger Catherine, and also it’s got Janet McTeer as Nelly Dean and she’s pretty much the definitive Nelly (aka the best character in the whole damn book) in my eyes.


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