Marquise review

Marquise is a bawdy yet mediocre French costume drama that traces the life of infamous Gallic courtesan Marquise du Parc (Marceau). Born into poverty, she's discovered by playwright Molière (Giraudeau) and his theatrical troupe as they tour the provinces. Marrying Gros-Rene (Timsit), one of Molière's actors, she's whisked off to Paris where her voluptuous beauty and seductive dancing enchant countless men, including Louis XIV and Molière's great playwright rival, Racine (Wilson). But her affair with the latter is destined to end in tragedy.

Presumably intended as a study of artistic and romantic rivalry, Marquise suffers as its lead actress never convinces as a 17th-century courtesan. Belmont crams too much incident into the narrative, with numerous play-rehearsal scenes guaranteed to test the patience. The salty dialogue, though, provides some compensation - listen out for Marceau telling Skornik (Nicole of Renault Clio ad fame): "Suffer it, or I'll tan your rump..."

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