In rural Southwest France in the 1920s, the title character, a headstrong but self-destructive pinewood heiress played by Audrey Tautou, marries a man she doesn’t love, solely -- she tells herself and thus us – in order to consolidate their families’ fortunes. Of course she pays a heavy price for her plan. The key to this emotionally dour but visually lush character study is Tautou’s performance as the enigmatic Thérèse, solidly backed by Gilles Lellouche as her oblivious husband Bernard. It’s the final finished film by the late director Claude Miller, adapted by Miller and Natalie Carter from François Mauriac’s novel, and it’s difficult to completely engage with, despite Tautou’s agonizing. But it’s gorgeous to look at (110 min.).
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