The Princess of Montpensier (Bertrand Tavernier, 2010): France

Reviewed by Paulina Soto. Viewed at the Mann Chinese Theatre, AFI Filmfestival, Hollywood, CA.

The Princess of Montpensier, a classical movie directed by Bertrand Tavernier (In the Electric Mist, 2009), is an elegant story that takes place in a beautiful environment of the 16th-century of France.

The young and stunning princess Marie has everything a man wants, but she’s already in love with the handsome Henri de Guise, and with a father who soon is there to marry her away with the Prince of Montpensier instead. Here’s where the dilemma begins, the decision between following her own heart or to please her father and the old values. Sooner or later we’re caught in the middle of a love triangle.While she is struggling with her personal life there’s several wars going on in the neighborhood. She can’t feel the passion between herself and her new husband and it ends, them being upset at each other. When he finally let her go, she has it hard to find the joy of love again.

This movie, that is based on the old novel by Madame de Lafayette, is a gripping drama about love, betrayal, jealousy and a everyday life of the 16th-century’s noble people. The princess (Mélanie Thierry) is a strong character and the acting in this movie is flawless and believable. Sometimes, movies like this has nothing to give with its dialogues but here you can feel the depth of everything spoken and remained interesting to the very end. The costume design and the props were amazing. Every detail felt right and with all the costumes flowing in different colors, made everything feel realistic to the time epoch. The settings was also something remarkable with its charming landscapes and soft tones. Without the great cinematography and costume design the movie would probably have lost some of its characteristic features. The editing was clean, without too many cuts and instead using long takes between the scenes. The movie was always moving forward, either with the war duels or with the intense dialogues that was going on.

I’ve seen a couple of this kind of movie, in the same genre and the same construction, but this movie stood out from the rest. Mostly because of the fast forward motion and with the significant and exciting storytelling. Though everything didn’t went as expected for this adventurous princess, she moved on courageously.

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