Where to Look for Isabelle Huppert: From 'Madame Bovary' to 'Mama Weed'

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You may be aware of Isabelle Huppert from her stellar work on the screen or from our coverage on Anglophenia. Either way, she is one to look out for. In 2016, The New York Times wrote about the French actress, saying she chooses roles that are "morally complex and sometimes hard to watch." Based on what we've seen, we agree, especially with the last part of the Times' mention, "And yet can't bring ourselves to look away."

Whether you're an Anglophile, Francophile, both, or just enjoy great work, let's take a peek at some of her standout roles:

1. Madame Bovary

In 1991, we saw Huppert in the title role of Madame Bovary. She takes on the role of a 19th century woman, who is married to a doctor. While she may have "married up" being the daughter of a squire, she finds herself bored. In an attempt to spice up her life, she has an affair. More than one affair, actually, with a local landowner and a law student. As she pursues love in all the wrong places, she also runs up debt. 


2. A Judgement in Stone

Based on Ruth Rendell's 1977 novel, the 1995 film A Judgement in Stone, revolves a young maid named Sophie (Sandrine Bonnaire). She works for a family of four but isn't so keen on the tasks that come with the job. When in town, she befriends a woman who works at the post office (Huppert). The women develop a friendship that turns deadly, with them both envious of the family Sophie works for. 


3. The Piano Teacher

In 2001, Huppert took on the title role in The Piano Teacher. She portrays a woman in her forties, who lives with her mother in an apartment. While on the outside, she seems to have it together, but on the inside, she is struggling with repressed feelings. She meets a young man (Benoît Magimel), who pursues a romantic relationship with her. She will only agree, if he submits to her sexual preferences. 


4. 8 Women

You can also look for Huppert in 2002's 8 Women. Set in the 1950s, a family comes together to celebrate Christmas. When the patriarch, Marcel (Dominique Lamure), is found dead in his bed with a knife in his back, the eight women in attendance are all suspects. Why not any of the men!? It turns out, it's the women who have the motives. Huppert takes on the role of Aunt Augustine, who tends to stir the pot. 


5. Amour

The 2012 movie Amour follows a married couple, Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva). When Anne suffers a stroke, she pleads with her husband not to send her to a nursing home. He agrees to be her caregiver. Huppert steps in as their daughter, Eva. Eva, on the other hand, thinks her mother needs medical attention. It seems everyone wants the best, but there's no one right answer.


6. Things to Come

Huppert takes on another lead role in 2016's Things to Come. She portrays a high school teacher, Nathalie, who puts a lot of time and effort into her students, teaching philosophy. She also dotes on her mother, husband and two children. When her husband leaves her and her mother passes away, she finds herself with an abundance of time. According to Variety, this role was written with Huppert in mind. 


7. Elle

In 2016's Elle, Huppert plays a woman who is sexually assaulted in her home by a man in a ski mask. She doesn't tell anyone about what happened and goes about life as usual. She's been involved with the law before, with her father being incarcerated for murder, and decides not to report the crime. But, she doesn't live in fear. Instead, she investigates and works to find her assailant. 


8. Greta

Huppert teamed up with Chloë Grace Moretz for 2018's Greta. And, it's creeeeeepy (that is our professional opinion). When Moretz's character, Frances, finds a lost handbag, she returns it to its owner, Greta (Huppert). The two develop an unexpected friendship. That's until Frances finds a cabinet of handbags, realizing they're bate, to lure people to Greta's home. And, if all goes as planned, never leave. 


9. Frankie

In 2019's Frankie, Huppert takes on the title role. Frankie is a famous actress, but when she finds out she has only three months to live, she asks her family to join her on vacation in Portugal. She hopes to have a good time, which for her, means time together. And, like families do, they are happy to oblige and bring their problems. Frankie doesn't feel sorry for herself and is glad to be involved in what's going on.

10. Mama Weed

And, just this month, Huppert popped up in Mama Weed. Once again, she takes on the title role, with Mama Weed being a nickname for her character Patience. Patience has an on-the-level job as a translator for the police, but when she runs low on cash and comes across a lot of hash, she uses her insight as an employee of law enforcement to her advantage. She knows how to sell the drug and evade her colleagues.

This roundup just makes us want to see more of Huppert, what about you?