The Princess of Montpensier is a visually rich and engaging 16th century French romantic drama. The princess, Marie, as ably played by the beautiful Melanie Thierry, is the object of the affections of 3 noblemen: Henri de Guise, her longtime lover; the Prince de Montpensier, a rival of Guise whose father arranges for him to wed Marie despite her objections and the Duke of Anjou, brother of the king, and a calculating admirer of Marie's who tries to keep the competition between Guise and Montpensier from getting out of hand.
Lambert Wilson gives another great performance as Chabannes a man of integrity who undergoes a pacifist epiphany one day after unintentionally killing a pregnant woman. At risk for execution because of his refusal to participate in anymore Catholic-Huguenot skirmishes he takes refuge on the Montpensier estate since he has served in the past as both friend and mentor of the prince. He eventually becomes a companion and tutor to Marie and is inevitably drawn into the romantic intrigue engulfing her.
The Princess of Montpensier successfully retools a genre that has virtually disappeared from the big screen in recent years thanks to director Bertrand Tavernier, writers Tavernier, Jean Cosmos and Francois-Olivier Rosseau, cinematographer Bruno de Keyzer and a fine cast headed by Thierry and Wilson.