Rosalie | Picturehouse Recommends

A story of hope and radical self-acceptance, Rosalie is a beautiful and bold romance from director Stéphanie Di Giusto.

Elena Lazic

05 Jun 24

Stéphanie Di Giusto

Release Date
7 June


Nadia Tereszkiewicz, Benoît Magimel, Benjamin Biolay, Guillaume Gouix


Running Time
115 mins

If the latest film from French director Stéphanie Di Giusto is such a delight, it is because it moves in step with its surprising and clever heroine, who playfully defies the expectations of her time at every turn. Her presence provides the heartbeat of a delicate, feminist-tinged, deeply romantic period flick that soars on the charisma and chemistry of its two leads.

In late 19th century France, Rosalie (rising star Nadia Tereszkiewicz) arrives at a village to marry someone she's never met. He is clearly after her dowry, while her father seems eager simply to be rid of her. Yet the young woman looks at them with kindness – in fact, she is giddy about her new situation.

From the moment they meet, the beautiful girl seems a breath of fresh air in the dull and difficult life of her new husband, Abel (the always excellent Benoît Magimel), and in the routine of the whole village. She is a vision as she walks home from church in her handmade wedding dress and it isn't long before Rosalie's disarming charm and wit catch even his eye.

Like in Tran Anh Hùng's The Taste Of Things, Magimel is touching as a man moved by a woman's beauty and intelligence and the comfort that she brings. Although Abel is crippled by debt and a severe back injury from the war, Rosalie startles him out of his depressive stupor.

In this harsh world of class disparities, Rosalie's joie de vivre is like a beam of sunshine, touching so many lives with her light. Meanwhile, the couple slowly grow closer and it seems like this arranged marriage may just work out.

Very early on in their romance, however, the courageous woman decides to tell Abel her secret: Rosalie is a bearded lady. She has hair growing all over her body, and most noticeably on her face.

What follows is an optimistic – but always authentic – film about refusing to conform to society's rigid description of beauty. Rosalie is unperturbed by her husband's shock – she views it as his problem not hers – and just as she transforms the town through sheer dint of her charm and grace, the question remains: will she win over her husband?

None of this is heavy-handed. Instead, it's all delivered with the gentlest touch, the lightness enhanced by Hania Rani's delicate, airy score. It's a rare period film that gently resonates with contemporary themes. It's a beautiful appeal for empathy and
understanding of people's difference without ever trying too hard to be modern.

It's also a perfectly poised study in self-acceptance that trades in that rarest of commodities these days: hope. Through Rosalie's struggle – and her joy – everyone is reminded of the true value and beauty of living.

The exceptionally nuanced performances from Tereszkiewicz and Magimel bring to life characters that are much more complex than a preachy film about oppression or a conventional period drama could ever imagine.

Di Giusto's tender and refreshing love story, which premiered at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, is based on the true story of bearded lady Clémentine Delait.

The film draws us into a world as lively and beautiful as Rosalie herself. Picturesque locations, carefully designed sets, detailed costume design and Rosalie's own unique beauty add to the visceral power of an unexpected, romantic and playful story about love and that other human right: freedom.  Elena Lazic

You'll like this

If you enjoyed these films

Portrait of a Lady on Fire




The Taste of Things


Listen: Hope Hopkinson talks to Nadia Tereszkiewicz for the Picturehouse podcast, The Love of Cinema.

Pick up a copy of Picturehouse Recommends at a Picturehouse Cinema near you, or become a Member.

Rosalie is in cinemas from 7 June Book Now!