I am a romantic and I do enjoy all the mushy clichés from beautiful bouquets of roses and ribbon-tied boxes of chocolates, to candlelit dinners at fancy restaurants. But as someone who will not eat mince pies until December, for me it’s still too early to get excited for Valentine’s Day.
For now, my idea of love manifests itself in a different way…talent + beauty + style + real and honest views = girl crush.
Yes, I have a girl crush.
I first came across Marion Cotillard in one of my favourite films: Jeux d’enfants. The French don’t make rom-coms like they do in Hollywood. The passion is much more raw and infecting. It stays with you. The story was wild and beautiful, just as Marion’s character was, and there was something about her in that film that made me feel that I needed to know more about her.
Others may know her for her roles in films such as La Vie en Rose, Rust and Bone, The Immigrant, Public Enemies, Nine, Inception or Contagion to name but a few. And anyone who has seen more than one of these films will agree, she is not type-cast in any way. That can only be testament to her talent.
In interview, she comes across as endearing and sweetly optimistic, so it was a surprise to see her channel the self-destructive temper of a woman like Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose. She once said: “I adore my own life, more and more I love being myself, but I love this work of totally changing personalities, of creating something radically different from myself. I want to go profoundly into my roles. If not, what’s the point?”
But acting is but one part of this fabulous woman.
Her seemingly endless range may have something to do with her upbringing. She was raised by actor parents in Paris, a city she still considers home today. She says her parents taught her to respect where she lives and the impact that she has on her surroundings and she speaks fondly of her grandmother who wouldn’t waste anything. So it may not be surprising to know that Cotillard works closely with Greenpeace.
The 38-year-old even travelled to the Congo to see one of the world’s most ancient forests and to meet the people who were fighting against deforestation there. She slept in a forest village and heard about the hopes and struggles of people trying to survive in a country with so much corruption.
In addition to this organic and ethical side of her character, Cotillard is the beautiful face of Dior, but more unusually, in recent years has taken to dressing up like a man and performing under the with French rock act, Yodelice. It began with a few jamming sessions in which Yodelice encouraged her to try playing instruments she’d never touched before. Before she knew it, she was touring with the band and playing big venues like the Olympia in Paris. But in this part of her life, she didn’t want to be Marion Cotillard the actress turned singer, and so she took on her grandmother’s name, and now ‘Simone’ sometimes appears with the band.
These are sides we don’t often see to Cotillard. But it seems acting is only part of what gives her life meaning. She speaks almost philosophically about wanting to give her life meaning and just learning that little bit more about her, makes me love her even more.
By Olivia Parish