Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
France/Germany, 2010. Paradis Films, StudioCanal, France 2 Cinéma, France 3 Cinéma, Pandora Filmproduktion, Outsider Productions, Canal+, CinéCinéma, France Télévision, Cinémage 4, La Banque Postale Image 3, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Filmförderungsanstalt, Région Auvergne, Centre Images, MEDIA Programme of the European Union. Screenplay by Jean Cosmos, Francois-Olivier Rousseau, Bertrand Tavernier, based on the short story by Madame de la Fayette. Cinematography by Bruno de Keyzer. Produced by Frédéric Bourboulon, Laurent Brochand, Eric Heumann. Music by Philippe Sarde. Production Design by Guy-Claude Francois. Costume Design by Camille Champenois. Film Editing by Sophie Brunet. Cannes Film Festival 2010.
Handsome, intelligent period drama based on the novel by Madame de la Fayette, about a minor noblewoman caught in the middle of major political intrigue. Young Marie (an excellent Mélanie Thierry) madly loves Henri de Guise (Gaspard Ulliel) but is devastated when her father forces her to marry the Prince of Montpensier (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet) whom she does not know, in the interest of a political union of their families. Encouraged to make her life easier by submitting to authority, Marie decides to leave behind her youthful passion and commit herself to being a good and devoted wife to her husband, but his impetuous jealousy eventually drives her back into the arms of her lover. This personal drama is further complicated by the goings-on at court when the powerful Duke of Anjou (a standout Raphaël Personnaz) becomes interested in her, and men begin to be sent off to religious wars. Bertrand Tavernier’s intelligent script and direction are sometimes a bit dry with painfully accurate detail, but it is nevertheless a wholly satisfying three course meal of historical information, human passion and aesthetic accomplishment, highlighted by excellent performances from a uniformly wonderful (and beautiful) cast.