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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Binoche films to satisfy any Valentine’s Day taste – Daily Freeman

Katie Walsh | Tribune News Service

With “The Taste of Things” in theaters as an ideal Valentine’s Day movie date option, the only things to stream should be the best films of star Juliette Binoche, an Academy Award-winning icon whose streaming filmography should have a Valentine’s Day option for everyone, no matter the mood.

For the more traditional romantic option, the best bet is “Chocolat” the 2000 film directed by Lasse Hallstrom, in which Binoche stars as a mysterious chocolatier who blows into a small town and changes everyone’s lives with her sweets and her presence. Binoche earned an Oscar nomination for her performance and stars opposite a stacked supporting cast, including Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Alfred Molina, Carrie-Anne Moss, Leslie Caron and Lena Olin. “Chocolat” is a perfect romantic movie for a cozy night in with sweet treats. Stream it on Paramount+, Prime Video, MGM+ or rent it elsewhere.

For a sweeping romantic tragedy, cue up Binoche’s Oscar winning performance in Anthony Minghella’s World War II drama “The English Patient.” Binoche plays a French Canadian nurse caring for a badly burned patient (Ralph Fiennes) in the waning days of the war, who recounts his days exploring the Sahara in the late 1930s and engaging in a torrid affair with a married woman (Kristin Scott Thomas). A classic of the ‘90s, the film picked up a whopping nine Academy Awards. Stream it on Paramount+, Showtime or rent it elsewhere.

For something a bit more philosophical, check out the heady, one-day rumination on romance that is Abbas Kiarostami’s “Certified Copy.” Binoche won the best actress prize at Cannes in 2010 for her performance opposite William Shimell. Stream it on Criterion, Tubi, Kanopy or rent it elsewhere.

Lets move on to the less traditional choices for a Binoche-themed Valentine’s Day. She became a star in France thanks to her performance in André Techiné’s dark sexual thriller “Rendez-vous” in 1985, acting opposite Lambert Wilson (you remember him from “The Matrix” sequels). Stream it on the Criterion Channel for something more edgy.

One of her most iconic performances is in the 1993 film “Three Colors: Blue,” by the Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski, as a part of his three colors trilogy. She plays a woman who loses her husband and daughter in a car accident, and through her process of grieving starts to uncover secrets about her husband’s life. The series is a European art-house classic, a must-watch for any cinephile. Stream it on Max, the Criterion Channel or rent it.

Binoche and her “The Taste of Things” co-star Benoît Magimel met (and fell in love) on the set of the sumptuous 1999 historical romance “The Children of the Century.” Unfortunately it is not available to stream, but you can check out Magimel in the 2001 Michael Haneke film “The Piano Teacher,” as a piano student entwined in a dark psychosexual entanglement with his teacher, played by Isabelle Huppert. Warning, it is extremely dark, so this is not for the faint of heart on Valentine’s Day. Stream it on Max or the Criterion Channel.

And for something that doesn’t have to do with romance at all, check out the Olivier Assayas film “Clouds of Sils Maria” (2014). Binoche plays a movie star on vacation in Switzerland reckoning with her career while faced with a younger star (Chloë Grace Moretz), and relying heavily on her stressed-out assistant (Kristen Stewart). It’s fabulous. Stream it on Criterion, Tubi, Kanopy, or rent it elsewhere.


(Katie Walsh is the Tribune News Service film critic and co-host of the “Miami Nice” podcast.)

©2024 Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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