Complete A-Z list

Princess of Montpensier, The/La princesse de Montpensier


Stars: Melanie Thierry, Lambert Wilson, Gaspard Ulliel, Gregoire Leprince-Ringuet, Raphael Personnaz, Michel Vuillermoz

Director: Bertrand Tavernier

Costume dramas a là ‘The Three Musketeers’ have been thin on the ground in recent years which is all the more reason to welcome Tavernier’s splendid swashbuckling historical drama whose blend of romantic rivalry, passion and betrayal, decorated with zestful swordplay, elegant period detail and vivid locations makes entertaining viewing. And there is enough plot and good complications to make it worth seeing a second time.

The setting is sixteenth century France which is riven with religious warfare and where heiress Thierry is in love with Duke Ulliel and believes her feelings about him are reciprocated. But her father Magnan forces her to agree to marry Prince of Montpensier, the appropriately named Leprince-Ringuet. After the marriage, the Prince is summoned to join the war against the Protestants and isolates Thierry in a secluded castle. Unfortunately Leprince-Ringuet’s invitation to Count Wilson – who has been disowned by both the warring Catholic and Huguenots - ultimately resolves Thierry’s romantic dreams…

American subtitles occasionally irritate but this is only a minor blemish. Strong performances, notably by Wilson, and Thierry’s beauty, along with lashings of action, plotting and counterplotting more than compensate.

Alan Frank

France/Germany 2010. UK Distributor: Optimum. Colour.
139 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 14 Jul 2011