Thérèse (Thérèse Desqueyroux)

Directed By: Claude Miller

Starring: Audrey Tautou and Gilles Lellouche

The French had a really good run for a few years with cinema.  Think of films like The Artist, The Intouchables, and Amour.  With the notably consistent quality films that had been coming from across the Atlantic over the last several years, I've come to expect more of them.  Sadly, however, the French have been letting me down this year.  Augustine was a really dry period piece earlier this year.  Now, they've sent Thérèse our way.  The last thing we need as we close out the summer is another underwhelming period drama about a bored, unhappy housewife with a penchant for burning things down.

Thérèse (Audrey Tautou) has been betrothed to marry Bernard Desqueyroux (Gilles Lellouche).  Coming from a wealthy family, it only makes sense for her to marry into another wealthy family.  However, it's better to marry someone for the love you share with him than the pines he owns.  As expected, it quickly becomes apparent that Thérèse is not too happy in her new life with Bernard.  It doesn't help that she's impregnated by her new husband months after their wedding.  It also doesn't help that her best friend and sister-in-law Anna de la Trave (Anaïs Demoustier) has found love with Jewish boy Jean Azevedo (Stanley Weber).  As her marriage progresses, Thérèse, a frequent smoker, takes to burning the pines she and her husband share.

Thérèse is one boring affair.  Poorly scripted and dispassionately performed, this French period adaptation of François Mauriac's novel of the same name disappoints on so many levels.  Director Claude Miller has really crafted a snoozer in this one.  The story itself is botched, particularly the portion involving Jean Acevedo.  The brief romance between Anna and Jean is choppy in its delivery and underdeveloped in the grand scheme of Thérèse.  It ultimately speaks to the larger problems with the film's plot.

Another thing that plagues the film is a lack of energy from the cast.  Audrey Tautou, Gilles Lellouche, and their supporting cast members bring no emotion or passion to the screen, and the final product that is Thérèse reflects this.  The actors just go through the motions of spitting out their lines without giving them any meaning or depth.  It makes this complex relationship between Thérèse and Bernard seem surprisingly stale.  It ultimately snowballs throughout the film and compounds the problem that this movie is unbelievably dull.

All in all, I'd rather forget that I went to see Thérèse this past weekend.  It's a boring, boring adaptation of Mauriac's novel that leaves a lot to be desired.  You'll need some Sidecars with this one.  Thérèse gets a 0.09% rating.