One of the more compelling French actresses of her generation, Charlotte Gainsbourg initially made her screen name parlaying wayward adolescence into an understated art form. Tall, long-necked, and elegantly gawky, Gainsbourg first impressed critics and audiences with her portrayal of the naive but rebellious protagonist of [[Feature~V118479~L'Effrontée~leffrontée]] (1985), earning a César for Most Promising Young Actress.
The daughter of French singer/songwriter/occasional actor and director [[Performer~P90849~Serge Gainsbourg~sergegainsbourg]] and English actress [[Performer~P6297~Jane Birkin~janebirkin]], Gainsbourg was born into substantial celebrity in London on July 22, 1971. Initially keen on being either an artist or a surgeon, she made her film debut playing [[Performer~P18574~Catherine Deneuve~catherinedeneuve]]'s daughter in the 1984 [[Feature~V30316~Paroles et Musique~parolesetmusique]]. That same year, she courted notoriety when she starred alongside her ever-irascible father in his controversial "Lemon Incest" music video, which featured the two cuddling on a bed surrounded by feathers. More salubrious attention came the young actress' way the following year, when she earned a César for her performance in [[Performer~P49093~Claude Miller~claudemiller]]'s [[Feature~V118479~L'Effrontée~leffrontée]].
After another stint acting alongside her father in his poorly received [[Feature~V120334~Charlotte Forever~charlotteforever]] (1986), Gainsbourg again collaborated with director Miller for [[Feature~V29678~La Petite Voleuse~thelittlethief]] (1988), portraying a sullen teenager experimenting with sex and various illegal pursuits. She reprised her rebellious teen role for [[Feature~V133114~Merci La Vie~mercilavie]] (1991), a black comedy that cast her and [[Performer~P139527~Anouk Grinberg~anoukgrinberg]] as two young women on a rampage against men and just about whomever else crosses their path. Gainsbourg got an opportunity to broaden her range with [[Performer~P87961~Jacques Doillon~jacquesdoillon]]'s [[Feature~V145867~Amoureuse~amoureuse]] (1992), an ensemble piece about a group of young women who come together to discuss life and love, and her uncle [[Performer~P81923~Andrew Birkin~andrewbirkin]]'s [[Feature~V131148~The Cement Garden~thecementgarden]] (1994), a drama about extreme familial dysfunction that was the actress' first English language outing.
Gainsbourg made her second English film in 1996, starring as the eponymous heroine of [[Performer~P117884~Franco Zeffirelli~francozeffirelli]]'s adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's [[Feature~V135981~Jane Eyre~janeeyre]]. Although the film, which also starred [[Performer~P34104~William Hurt~williamhurt]], received very mixed reviews, it did succeed in introducing Gainsbourg to a wider international audience. She further enhanced her good reputation when she won her second César -- this time for Best Supporting Actress -- in 2000 for her work in [[Feature~V184616~La Bûche~labûche]] (1999), a comedy that cast her as an ambitious businesswoman who takes up with a mysterious man lodging at her father's house.
Gainsbourg remained busy throughout the mid-2000s and enjoyed success as a supporting actress in several highly acclaimed films (21 Grams, The Science of Sleep, Happily Ever After, and Lemming, to name a few). In 2006 she acted and directed the historical drama Golden Door, and co-starred in the award-winning drama The City of Your Final Destination in 2008. The actress portrayed a stay-at-home mother in The Tree (2010), a poignant psychological drama from director Julie Bertucelli, and took on yet another supporting role in 2011's Melancholia. ~ Rebecca Flint Marx, Rovi