An Innocent Ensnared at the C16 French Court

This is my review of The Princess Of Montpensier [DVD].

Visually very beautiful and well-acted, this is the tale of how the innocent young Marie De Mezieres falls for the handsome, swashbuckling Henri De Guise but is forced for political reasons to marry the cold and unappealing young Prince of Montpensier. Still very young, she continues to receive lessons from the Prince's tutor, and some of the most moving and occasionally tense aspects of the film arise from the older man's love for her, which has to remain suppressed and unexpressed.

Many of the characters are two-dimensional, prone to sudden unconvincing changes in behaviour, or are caricatured (the tutor came across to me as the most "real" person), and the scenes are often too stylised for one to be deeply affected by the drama. I found myself more moved by the tutor's plight than the fate of the princess, which I do not think was the author's intention. Lacking a grounding in French history, I found some of the details hard to follow, but the bitter mistrust between the Catholics and Protestants forms an interesting background and overall it is quite entertaining.

⭐⭐⭐ 3 Stars

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