Thérèse (Thérèse Desqueyroux)
Release Year: 2012
Director: Claude Miller
Writers: Claude Miller (screenplay), Natalie Carter (screenplay), François Mauriac (based on his 1927 novel Thérèse Desqueyroux)
Starring: Audrey Tautou, Gilles Lellouche, Anaïs Demoustier, Catherine Arditi, Isabelle Sadoyen, Francis Perrin, Stanley Weber, Max Morel, Françoise Goubert, Jean-Claude Calon
Thérèse (Audrey Tautou), an emotionally distant and intelligent young woman of wealth marries a local tycoon (Gilles Lellouche). Her marriage becomes increasingly unhappy and she seeks away to free herself from the social expectations of her marriage.
This adaptation of Mauriac’s 1920s novel by Claude Miller (Le petite voleuse, 1988) is as cold and depressing as its title character. The film is a psychological study of a intelligent but emotionally cold woman who finds herself trapped in an unhappy marriage to an otherwise decent man. The marriage is mostly for practical reasons as they are both heir to large stretches of pine forest that happen to be ajacent. Her husband is of wealthy family, treats har well, and seems pleased enough with the match, but fails to make her feel content. There are hints that her discontent stems from an unrequited attraction towards her younger childhood friend (and the younger sister of her husband). Her friend’s unwanted fling with a neighbour is a stark contrast to the passionless life Thérèse leads. Tautou (Un long dimanche de fiançailles, 2004) is very good at lifeless expression, perhaps too much so, as Thérèse feels so distant that it is hard to sympathise with her apart from a few memorable moments. Lellouche (Ne le dis à personne, 2006) on the other hand makes his character quite likable even though he is a bit of a stick-in-the-mud. Recommended to fans of slow and subtle psychological studies.
The source novel bt François Mauriac’s novel is inspired by the Henriette Canaby case (1906).
Picture Copyright: Pathé Films