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|Rating:||R (for some sexual content)|
|Genre:||Art House & International, Drama|
|Directed By:||Georges Franju, Claude Miller|
|Written By:||Georges Franju, Claude Mauriac, Natalie Carter, Claude Miller, François Mauriac|
|In Theaters:||Aug 23, 2013 Limited|
|On DVD:||Nov 19, 2013|
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as Therese Desqueyroux
as Bernard Desqueyroux
as Anne de la Trave
as Jean Azevedo
as Mme. de la Trave
as Jerome Larroque
as Hector de la Trave
as Madame de la Trave
as Tante Clara
as Monsieur Larroque
as Monsieur de la Trave
as Jean Azevedo
as Thérèse (15 ans)
as Anne (15 ans)
as Maître Duros
as Le Ponte de Bordeaux
as Adolescent Thérèse
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Critic Reviews for Thérèse
A remarkably pretty, if equally dour, portrait of the bored, oppressive life led by the provincial bourgeoisie.
While there's a certain staid feeling to the production, it does deliver a solid working-over to the era's gentry.
The film looks great. As for the human element, the mood is more apathetic than tragic, and star Audrey Tautou has to take much of the blame for the film's failure.
The magnificent nature that surrounds Therese becomes her prison. It's an interesting paradox, but not necessarily an especially satisfying experience.
Audience Reviews for Thérèse
Therese (Tautou), the daughter of a wealthy land-owner, marries the equally endowed Bernard (Lellouche), an older man who presides over a neighboring estate, and the two families join their land together to form one large pinery. Therese, however, is a troubled individual, and soon she begins to regret the marriage, growing jealous of her childhood friend, Bernard's young sister Anne (Demoustier), who lives as more of a free spirit. When Bernard begins to suffer heart palpitations, Therese sees this as an opportunity to murder her husband by tampering with his medicine.
Some actors become inextricably linked with a particular role, spending the rest of their careers trying to remove such an association. For Tautou, it's her breakout role in 2001's 'Amelie'. It's impossible to gaze on her visage without being instantly reminded of that movie. With 'Amelie' seeing unprecedented global success, the actress attempted to break into Hollywood with a part alongside Tom Hanks in 'The Da Vinci Code'. It didn't work out for Tautou and she returned to her native land, making a string of saccharine comedies. Now it seems she's out to prove she's more than a cute-faced belle by portraying the particularly nasty title character of director Miller's final film, completed before his death last year. The result is a terrible piece of miscasting. For a start, she's far too old for the role, an error compounded by asking us to believe her a mere two years older than the fresh-faced Demoustier. Tautou doesn't have the range to provide the character with any depth, resorting to pulling a "just sucked a lemon" face. Combine this with the heinous nature of the character and it makes for a tough watch.
For the most part, Miller brushes aside the existential themes of François Mauriac's 1927 novel, choosing instead to focus on the potboiler murder subplot. In the hands of Claude Chabrol, this could have been an enjoyable Hitchcockian thriller, but Miller is, or sadly was, no Chabrol, and certainly no Hitchcock. Those two film-makers were experts at getting the audience onside with the most despicable of characters, a skill alien to Miller. The late director fails to evoke any empathy, or even sympathy, for his Therese, who simply comes across as a spoilt brat. She hates her life, which is one of entitlement, waited on hand and foot in a glorious house in one of France's most scenic areas. The question on our lips is why? Her answer is "I don't know!", which should provoke further examination, but Miller fails to adequately portray her existential slump. At a time when most Europeans are struggling to keep a roof over their heads, few will feel for the "plight" of Therese Desqueyroux.
This is a surprisingly unexpected and nuanced study of a woman. I had guessed the arch of the story wrong several times as it clearly does not follow the usual conventional film script. Instead of the sharp delineation of good vs. evil, crime vs. punishment, this is about cruelty and charity in unlikely places. In the end, it is still an optimistic view of human condition: we all have capacity to learn, learn to forgive and move on.
Based in part (the novel is much more) on the 1927 François Mauriac novel Thérèse Desqueyroux , this film stars Audrey Tautou (Amelie) as the title character who finds herself in a marriage of convenience (they both own property and each want more) to a rather dull man (Gilles Lellouche - Mesrine) whom Thérèse accepts/tolerates until her sister-in-law and best friend, Anna (Anais Demoustier - Elles) falls passionately in love with a Portuguese man making Thérèse realize what her life is lacking. Unsure of what to do, Thérèse takes drastic action in hopes of finding the love/freedom she sees others share. The novel has much more depth to it (this film leaves out many events found in its pages) but is similar to the more well-known Madame Bovary or Anna Karenina. While I am a sucker for costume drama, I found much of this film dull -- like her marriage -- and it only picks up late into the film. It leaves much out and so the film makes it difficult to find much sympathy for any of these characters other than Anna. The landscapes are pretty and Tautou can play dowdy and dour but this isn't one I would recommend even to fellow Merchant Ivory enthusiasts. It wanted to be more.
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