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Review: The Princess of Montpensier

Bertrand Tavernier's opulent period piece
By PETER KEOUGH  |  May 19, 2011
2.5 2.5 Stars

Like all religious wars, the conflict between Catholics and Huguenots in 16th-century France made a mockery of spiritual values. At the start of Bertrand Tavernier's opulent period piece, the Comte de Chabannes (Lambert Wilson) withdraws from the conflict after an atrocity, making himself anathema to both sides. Chabannes provides the story's conscience; yet he's ignored not just by the characters but often by Tavernier himself. Chabannes's former ward, the Prince de Montpensier (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet), offers him refuge, and from then on, he serves as the go-between among Montpensier, his wife the Princess (Mélanie Thierry), and the Princess's old flame, the dashing Henri de Guise (Gaspard Ulliel). Chabannes also falls for the Princess, perhaps because he admires her proto-feminist revolt against the patriarchy. Or maybe it's her gratuitous nudity. Whatever, Tavernier's epic whips up a stylish soap opera with the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre as a backdrop.

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  Topics: Reviews , Bertrand Tavernier, Film reviews, films,  More more >
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