Smoking away in a highly un-Amelie-like fashion, Audrey Tautou steals this handsome but humdrum final film by French director Claude Miller (
La Classe de Neige
), who died last year.
All storm-faced introversion, Tautou’s Thérèse is a “serious girl” whose pursuit of a safe life leads her to marry a landed prig (Gilles Lellouche) who’s rubbish in the sack.
Miller’s pacing is no sexier, turning the cut-up narrative of Francois Mauriac’s 1927 novel of the same name into a joyless plod.
Thankfully, things pick up when Thérèse tries to poison her other half... without the presence of Tautou, this would be a dry heritage pic; with her, it brews a sense of enigma that just about saves the day.