The Princess of Montpensier
This review first appeared in the Sunday Star Times, 5th August 2012
This period piece paints a parallel picture to Queen Elizabeth’s England of the mid-1500s, as the French endure a battle for religious supremacy between their own Catholics and Protestants (the Huguenots).
Apart from the occasional snide comment about England, and a kinder rendition of the Duke of Anjou than bestowed by the Oscar-nominated film of 1998, this is, however, an entirely separate story.
Marie (Melanie Thierry from Babylon AD) is forced to marry the Prince of Montpensier – not such an abhorrent match since he is young, educated and thoughtful – only Marie has long been in love with his comrade, the Duke of Guise. As the Prince goes off to battle, Marie is left at home to be tutored by an old family friend (the excellent Lambert Wilson from Of Gods and Men), where periodic interactions with all three men cause Marie trouble of a romantic nature.
The story is interesting historically, though not in the same realm as Elizabeth for drama and intrigue. However, solid performances and diligent production design immerse the viewer in Marie’s constrained life and ensuing moral dilemmas.