HazMat HOF Women We Need to See More Often: Juliette Binoche

Best Meal I Ever Ate No. 9 coming tomorrow. Meanwhile, my mind is on chocolate. More particularly, my mind is on Chocolat …




PEDESTAL-WORTHY LEGACY: The English Patient (as “Hana”) 1996 and Chocolat (as “Vianne”) 2000, etc.

GUILTY OF VEHICULAR FANSLAUGHTER: The British gave her a bit of a trouncing for daring to take the role of quintessentially English Cathy Linton/Catherine Earnshaw in Wuthering Heights (1992) but the tempest subsided without leaving any permanent damage.

RUDIMENTARY ANALYSIS: Incandescent? Luminous? Resplendent? Brilliant? Could-roll-out-of-bed-on-her-worst-day-and-still-not-need-a-hint-of-eyeliner? All of these words and more describe the winsome wonder of French actress Juliette Binoche, a creature that seems to beguile with an equal mixture of transcendent angelic charm and down-to-the-earthiest Girl next Door camaraderie. Whether enchanting viewers on the stage or in seminal roles like that of Vianne in the mellifluous film adaptation of Joanne Harris’s splendid novel, Chocolat, Binoche is ever a classy, transfixing antidote to so many chintzy pseudo-“stars” that prance across the screen in projects tailored for today’s deliberately Attention Deficit Disordered set. Nothing can detox a diseased culture like a Woman Who Knows What She’s Doing, and for my money, Binoche fits that bill with an almost uncanny grace. And, yes, I’d marry her. Silly, silly man that I am.

DEFINITIVE DIALOGUE: “Well, it’s not cinnamon, it’s a special kind of chili pepper.” –Vianne, describing her “secret ingredient” in a scene with Judi Dench (Chocolat, 1996)

LAMENTABLE LEGACY: One is hard-pressed to think of anything lamentable in regard to Binoche’s legacy … except perhaps for the Withering Doom-Glare of Absolute Murder & Eternal Ruin that Lauren Bacall gave Juliette when she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1997 for The English Patient. I think a few people might’ve turned to stone in Lauren’s vicinity that night. Had to be carted off with forklifts after the ceremony. Feel Lauren’s pain (if you dare) at the 3:02 minute mark.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Whull, apparently, Juliette Binoche is slated to star in a remake of Godzilla, thereby bringing my favorite actress and one of the world’s most beautiful women together with my favorite monster and one of the world’s most fearsome scourges in a rather unlikely Collision of Brilliance. Irony, thy name is Cinema. The cosmos must have heard my prayers.

EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC: “What do you see?”

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