On “Marguerite”, Catherine Frot, and Older French Actresses

Bonaparte and I drove into Philly yesterday to see a film I’ve wanted to see for quite some time.  “Marguerite”, a film directed by Xavier Giannoli, written by Giannoli and Marcia Romano. This film is very loosely based on the life of Florence Foster Jenkins, an American woman whose inheritance allowed her to live through her dream of being an operatic singer.


This poster shows one of the film’s crucial moments.  Honestly, if you get the chance, you need to see this movie!

It stars the great actress, Catherine Frot. It is also a French language film with subtitles.

Frot with Xavier

Catherine Frot with director Giannoli. Looks like she is having a great time with him!

There is so much to love about this film.  It takes place during the 1920’s– in and just outside of Paris.  Frot plays Baroness Marguerite Dumont, a naïve, lonely and delusional woman.  Her husband, Georges, played by André Marcon, is more protective of her and doesn’t really come to terms with his love for her until later in the film.

Her husband

Marcon, as Baron Georges Dumont, spends an awful lot of time making sure his car breaks down whenever Marguerite sings.

Marguerite sees herself as a talented operatic singer who, in reality, is tone deaf, off pitch and screeches like a pained alley cat in order to reach the high notes. Bascially, she sucks but nobody will tell her the truth.

At her home

Singing to an audience in her home, this scene pretty much gives you an idea of her “unique” voice!

Too many people either sponge off her generosity or see her as an opportunity for their own benefit.  Even so, these are the very same people who come to love and want to shield her.

Among the opportunists are Lucien Beaumont, a music critic played by Sylvain Dieuaide; Kyrill Von Priest, a douchey anarchist, played by Aubert Fenoy and a young opera singer, Hazel, beautifully played by Christa Theret.  Lucien and Hazel ultimately come to love and protect Marguerite.

Marguerite believes herself to be such a great talent that she has her driver, who is also her photographer, snap images of her as great operatic characters.

Her driver and photographer

Denis M’Punga, who plays Maldelbos, Marguerite’s photographer and driver, is another protector and admirer of Marguerite’s. Or is he using her for his own agenda?

Throughout all this, Frot doesn’t portray Marguerite as narcissistic at all. Marguerite is well-aware of her wealth and privilege but isn’t snobby or arrogant about it.

marguerite-composite-diva-catherine-frot (1)

The photos of Marguerite as operatic divas are comical and incredibly sad at the same time…

Giannoli has done a clever job in presenting the story as a visual book with the movie being divided into chapters. He’s also done a great, great job in making a film that runs the emotional gamut.  There are plenty of laugh-out-loud comedic moments but there are also many moments where you want to run up to the screen and just take the character of Marguerite into your arms and hug her and hold her.  You also may need a tissue or two.

Lonliness and sadness

Frot tells it all without words.  She is so incredibly expressive–look at the sadness and loneliness in her eyes.

But there’s more to it than that. Marguerite is not the story of an ingénue. It is the story of a middle-aged woman. A woman who has lived.

I’m not going to give any spoilers but as the story unfolds,  Madame Dumont finally hires a voice teacher.  And you can be the judge as to whether her voice improves or not.

The teacher

Atos Pezzini, a has-been opera singer, played by Michel Fau (he was also nominated for a Cesar for this role), is Marguerite’s opportunist voice teacher–and even he comes to feel for Marguerite and becomes one of her protectors. 

This tragi-comedy should have been nominated for an Oscar and Frot was robbed of that same nomination.

For me, the most incredible part of the movie was Catherine Frot’s portrayal of Marguerite.  Frot’s been around for a while and you may recognize her from the film “Haute Cuisine” in which she plays the chef for the French President. She’s also well known for a series of comedy/mystery series films she starred in with Andrè Dussollier as a husband and wife team who solve crimes, among many other roles. I’m truly happy that she won a Cesar for her performance of Marguerite!

Cesar time!

Frot accepting the Cesar for her portrayal as Marguerite

Frot’s talent also lies in her expressive face. Her eyes tell it all. Loneliness, sadness—she’s just incredible.

Catherine Frot

A face this expressive has not been ruined with fillers or bad plastic surgery!

And she’s adorable. Frot has a face that hasn’t been marred by plastic surgery or needles.  She is a mature and naturally beautiful woman who will be turning 60 this year and isn’t trying desperately to hold on to her youth.


Catherine out of film character

She’s so cute. I wanna be besties with her!  Bonaparte’s sister had the pleasure of meeting her a few times and said she was an incredibly nice woman–it shows!

Which brings me to this–French actresses (well—most of them) show their age. Not in a bad way either. It’s just that they aren’t injected with Botox and other fillers and their faces are able to convey emotion.  When they smile, their faces light up.  You can see lines when they frown.  Their eyes move. Their lids droop. You can see life in those faces. They rock what gravity has dropped!


Look how beautiful Fanny Ardant is at 67.  And she can move her facial features!  She’s one of my favorite actresses.

Isabelle Huppert 57

Isabelle Hubbert is 63. I want to know what her secret to great hair and skin is–and her career ain’t slowing down due to her age!


Nathalie Baye is Bonaparte’s longtime crush. He always says she is one of the sexiest women he’s ever seen.  Oh..and she is a great actress as well. She’s 67!!

BERLIN, GERMANY - DECEMBER 07:  Kristin Scott Thomas attends the European Film Awards 2013 on December 7, 2013 in Berlin, Germany.  (Photo by Clemens Bilan/Getty Images)

BERLIN, GERMANY – DECEMBER 07: Kristin Scott Thomas attends the European Film Awards 2013 on December 7, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Clemens Bilan/Getty Images)

Kristin Scott Thomas may be British, but she has starred in many French films. She’s totally bilingual. Ohhh look-Kristin isn’t Botox smooth! She has lots of character in that talented face of hers! She’s practically a teenager at 55 years!

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 11:  Actress Catherine Deneuve attends the premiere for the film "Lemming" at Le Palais de Festival on the opening night of the 58th International Cannes Film Festival May 11, 2005 in Cannes, France.  (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

CANNES, FRANCE – MAY 11: Actress Catherine Deneuve attends the premiere for the film “Lemming” at Le Palais de Festival on the opening night of the 58th International Cannes Film Festival May 11, 2005 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

and then there’s Deneuve! Ok..so she may have had a bit too many fillers on her mouth–but then again, she probably had a ton of over-the-lip lines from all the cigarette’s she’s smoked over the years. Still–at 72, she looks damned good!

Foreign filmmakers seem to respect, love and admire older actresses.  And they write for more mature female characters whereas American filmmakers just do not.  Take the film “Joy”.  The real Joy Mangano will be 60 this year. Why then, was 25 year-old Jennifer Lawrence cast as Joy? Mangano created the infamous prototype for her Miracle Mop when she was 34 years old, couldn’t a woman older than Lawrence had been cast?


Joy Mangano, who is now 60 years old. She’s had the plastic surgery but I’ll tell you, her surgeon did a great job!  I think it’s ridiculous that a 25 year old actress would portray her. But–that’s Hollywood!

If Marguerite was made in the USA, I’m sure the story would have been altered to fit a much younger actress.   Why can’t the entertainment industry in the USA show the love to older women in a way that embraces our age???

Enjoy the rest of this quiet Easter Sunday.  Here’s a beautiful duet by Delibes from Lakmé, Duo des Fleurs. Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne perform.  It is also included in the soundtrack of Marguerite by different performers. This gives me chills and I hope you love it as much as I do! XOXOXOXO




About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
This entry was posted in ageism, Beauty, Catherine Deneuve, Catherine Frot, Fanny Ardant, Isabelle Huppert, Kristin Scott Thomas, Marguerite, Mature Beauty, Nathalie Baye, Older French Actresses and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to On “Marguerite”, Catherine Frot, and Older French Actresses

  1. Shar says:

    H! Catherine, where do you find these movies? I would love to see them! Thanks, Sharon

  2. Shar says:

    Oops! Read you went to Philly!

  3. What a great review, Catherine! And I’m going to see it on Wednesday as it’s just been released in the UK. I’m hoping it’ll be chosen as one of the films for our film society’s season next year and I expect it will as the foreign films are the most popular. Btw, I think there is going to be an American version of this story starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant. I love Streep but I’m sure that the French film is going to be great.

    Loved your selection of older actresses – so lovely. And as for Deneuve – what a role model for 70+ women.
    Happy Easter to you – it’s wet (quelle surprise) and windy over here xxxxx

    • Catherine says:

      Happy Easter Penny–and don’t worry–it wasn’t wet here in the Philly area but it was cold, damp and gray. Ugh! I think you will enjoy Marguerite immensely! You will absolutely love it. I also read that a film is in the works with Streep. And what I’m going to write is not a dis on Streep, but–she lacks the warmth and naive persona that Frot has. Seriously. I realize Streep is a great actor/actross, BUT she is NOT the only one in the States who personifies the mature woman. I think Sally Field would be better cast in a film like this. Just my opinion though. It’ll be interesting to compare! Let me know what you think of the film!!!! XOXOXO!!!

  4. Great review I love this film. I am glad it got to the US. Yes are French actress are aging gracefully so far I love Deneuve and Huppert those are my favorite the secret of staying or aging gracefully as we say in France is in the wine that we drink. I am 54 soon to be 55 and a friend of mine said to me said to me you do not look it and I tell him it is the wine that we drink. The thing is that people do not know is that you have to do is to eat healthy and the rest is genetic. I will keep drinking the wine lol. I am glad that you love this film I also love Catherine Frot she is great in it. Au revoir.

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Dude! Glad you enjoyed the review. Oh. I’m incredibly glad the film made it to the US. Can you tell me exactly what wine it is you are drinking. I want some. Actually, I’m a bit on the fortunate side too. I’ll be 61 in three weeks, but I’ve been told I look decent for my age! I try to protect my skin these days, drink lots of water and get plenty of rest. XOXOXOXOXO!!!

  5. spearfruit says:

    Wonderful review, it looks fascinating. I enjoy reading your thoughts on older women, I personally like to see the age lines on both women and men – I think it shows a life that is well lived and important – but then again I have those also and maybe that is why I like seeing them on other people. I always appreciate your posts, happy day to you and Bonaparte. 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      HI Terry, Happy Easter to you and your better half! Yeah. I dig those character lines too. The movie really WAS great. I think it’s up there in my ten-best listing! XOXOXO!!!

  6. Such a fantastic review! I’ve never heard of Marguerite but I absolutely want to see it now!
    I love your comments on age and French actresses – you are so right! They totally rock their age and look gorgeous! I thought the same thing with Joy – I think that’s one of the big downfalls of American films, everyone is young (whether they’re suppose to be or not) and if the actresses aren’t, they have so many surgeries to try to look it!

    xx, Caitlin

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Caitlin. OMG. You HAVE to see this movie–It’s up there with “Amelie” and “A Very Long Engagement”! Isn’t it great, though, how the French celebrate the mature woman without trying to hide her? Don’t even get me started on Joy–it was ridiculous casting–and then Lawrence gets an Oscar nomination–WTF?? I also thought the same thing when Lawrence was cast in “American Hustle”–she just seemed way to young to play the part she did! XOXOXO!!!

  7. Hi Catherine
    I have seen “Marguerite”, it was one of the films in our local French film festival – and loved it! As you say great acting, story, costumes – who doesn’t love the 1920s?

    • Catherine says:

      Hipsterette–I’m glad you loved Marguerite too! I definitely want to see it again. Can you imagine having a wardrobe like Marguerites? XOXOXO!!!

  8. calensariel says:

    VERY interesting post. I agree 100%. I haven’t learned to relish opera yet, but I gotta say, whe Paul Potts tried out for Britain’s Got Talent he totally blew my mind and I sat here and cried. Have you seen that? He sang Nessun Dorma.(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1k08yxu57NA)

    • Catherine says:

      Lady Calen. Ihad never seen this video. I now have goosebumps and am crying. I just subscribed to his website. Leave it to a guy from Wales!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

      • calensariel says:

        There is a movie about his life floating around on YouTube somewhere. I truly did enjoy it. He actually went to opera school in Venice but would freeze up when he’d go to perform. It was a very inspiring story.

  9. iolacontessa says:

    This reminds me so much of the gal who owned LOTUSLAND in MONTECITO, CALIFORNIA!She bought herself a theatre to preform in in PARIS!She was the riches woman in the USA at one time…………..cant think of her name at the moment!!
    I will be POSTING ABOUT YOU Tomorrow!
    AS your method of LIP BLEEDING CURED MY PROBLEM!!!!!!!!!!

    • Catherine says:

      Contessa. I HAVE to find out about that woman who owned Lotusland! I’m so glad that I helped to cure your lip bleeding!!!!!!!!!!!! That makes me so happy!! XOXOXOXO!!!~!

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  11. junedesilva says:

    I’m really looking forward to seeing this film. You’ve mentioned some of my favourite French actresses; Fanny Ardant, Isabelle Huppert and Nathalie Baye. All beautiful and brilliant and natural. I did a post about a French series called ‘Spin’ – Les hommes de l’ombre. Nathalie Baye is one of the stars. When I was a student, I used to long to be Isabelle Adjani. I thought she was stunning. However, I’ve no idea what she is like these days…

    • Catherine says:

      Oh June. You will LOVE it! All those actresses are so naturally beautiful. I almost forgot about Isabella Adjani–she’s still beautiful but she looks like she went under the knife a bit. I LOVED her in Camille Claudel!! XOXOXOXO!

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