Les Destinees Sentimentales review

Why you can trust GamesRadar+ Our experts review games, movies and tech over countless hours, so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about our reviews policy.

After the sexy cine-brat satire Irma Vepp and the perversely appealing Gallic navel-gazing of Late August, Early September, Olivier Assayas' latest marks a major change of direction - - and not necessarily for the best.

A period melodrama set in the first half of the 20th century, Les Destinées Sentimentales relates the troubled marriage between Protestant minister Jean (Charles Berling) and a spirited younger woman, Pauline (Emmanuelle Béart). Among the obstacles are Jean's first, very bitter wife (Isabelle Huppert), World War One, and Jean's eventual obsession with saving the family business.

The foregrounding of a marriage against half a century of French history is a fine idea in principle, but Assayas is too reverential both to his literary source and the genre. It means that despite looking sumptuous, three rambling hours spent dwelling on miserable people takes its toll.

More info

Available platformsMovie

The Total Film team are made up of the finest minds in all of film journalism. They are: Editor Jane Crowther, Deputy Editor Matt Maytum, Reviews Ed Matthew Leyland, New Editor Jordan Farley, and Online Editor Jack Shepherd. Expect exclusive news, reviews, features, and more from the team behind the smarter movie magazine.