He was 6 years old when he first appeared onscreen, in the movie Le baisers de secours. It would be more than a decade before appearing in another film, Ceci est mon corps.
In 2002, Garrel gained international recognition playing Eva Green's twin brother in The Dreamers. Director Bernardo Bertolucci found him on the first session of casting in Paris. Garrel has since starred in various French films, including Les amants réguliers (2005), directed by his father Philippe Garrel. He was awarded the 2006 César Award for Best Male Newcomer for his work, and his grandfather Maurice Garrel appeared in a supporting role.
The youngest Garrel has been exploring his talents: he showcased his singing ability in the Christophe Honoré-directed film Les Chansons d'amour. In 2008, Garrel wrote and directed a short film, Mes copains (My buddies).
"It's true I have a hard time with the notion of creating a character. And I feel it's a limit. I'm always really impressed by actors who are able to construct a character, like Johnny Depp.”
Garrel was in a relationship with Valeria Bruni Tedeschi from 2005 to 2012. She is the elder sister of Carla Bruni, the former French First Lady. In 2009 Bruni Tedeschi and Garrel adopted a baby from Senegal, whom they named Céline.