THE PRINCESS OF MONTPENSIER
A Cry for Love
Release Date: April 15, 2011
Rating: Not Rated
Runtime: 139 minutes
Distributor: IFC Films
Director: Bertrand Tavernier
Executive Producer: Frederic Bourboulon
Address Comments To:Jonathan Sehring, President
IFC Films/IFC Entertainment
Joshua Sapan, President/CEO
Rainbow Media Holdings LLC (Independent Film Channel/IFC Films/IFC First Take/AMC/WE)
11 Penn Plaza; New York, NY 10001
Phone: (212) 324-8500
It is the year 1562 in France when the religious war between the Protestant Huguenots and Catholics is raging. The Huguenots and Catholics are completely destroying every town in their sight, including men, women and children, just because of their religious differences. The Comte de Chabannes fights along with the Catholics. After realizing he has killed a pregnant woman, he flees from the war because of its barbaric nature.
Meanwhile, Marie de Mezieres, a heiress to a grand fortune, is young and in love with Duke Henri de Guise, her dashing cousin. Her father makes other plans for her, however, to marry the Prince of de Montpensier, Philippe. Just after one meeting, Marie marries Philippe, and they return to his family’s secluded castle in Champigny.
Philippe is called to fight in the war, and he asks his friend Chabannes to stay with Marie and keep her company in the lonely castle. Marie asks Chabannes to teach her how to write, which is very uncommon during that time for a woman to learn. Chabannes also teaches Marie what the stars mean, and they spend a lot of time deciphering the Zodiac signs and come to the conclusion that the stars help reveal insights about the world.
Marie and Chabannes grow close as friends. In fact, the aging tutor himself falls for Marie. Marie confides in him of her love for Henri, but she’s trying to suppress her passion for him so that she can submit to her husband, Philippe. Then, however, Henri through Champigny with the Duc d’Anjou, the sickly king’s brother. Marie welcomes them into her castle. Philippe has returned to the castle himself and surmises, from the glances between Marie and Henri, that they’re still in love. Philippe also realizes that any man who meets Marie falls in love with her beauty and charm. He quickly becomes angry and jealous. This leads the two to grow apart and Marie’s passion for Guise to burn stronger inside her.
Philippe is called to Court in Paris, a time of grand balls with many royal families. Marie joins him at the Court. It becomes inevitable that she runs into Henri at every corner in Paris. Marie decides she cannot avoid Henri any longer, and he tempts her into having an affair.
Not long after this, Marie learns that Henri is engaged to the Queen’s daughter. At this point, Marie has to decide between her loving jealous husband or the passion she has for Henri, which may not be reciprocated much longer.
As is common with French films, THE PRINCESS OF MONTPENSIER ends in a very depressing manner in which neither the characters nor the audience is happy. The heroine repeatedly falls into adultery with her lover. The movie also contains some graphic violence and a scene of excessive nudity. Also, although it quotes from Hebrews 11:1 and has beautiful art direction, THE PRINCESS OF MONTPENSIER looks on organized religion as cruel because it leads to war and has a depressing underlying message.
The art direction in THE PRINCESS OF MONTPENSIER is beautiful, and the movie holds one’s interest. The story ends in a very depressing manner, where neither the characters nor the audience is happy. Also, despite a positive quote from Hebrews 11:1, the movie looks on organized religion as cruel because it leads to war. Finally, THE PRINCESS OF MONTPENSIER has some graphic violence, sensuality and a scene of excessive nudity. These things will annoy the average moviegoer.