Libby Bateman

Review: Suite Française

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

Matthias Schoenaerts and Michelle Williams in Suite FranÁaise

Suite Française is set during the Nazi-occupation of France, in the rural small town of Bussy. Thankfully the story was narrated by Lucille (Michelle Williams), as otherwise it would have been a confusing story line and hard to follow. Looking at the film, without comparing it to the novel it was based on, it’s a refreshing romantic drama set during World War ll, its basis is fixed around the novel, but Saul Dibb (director) focuses heavily on the love story, rather than the war.

The romantic drama is based on an uncompleted novel written by Irene Némirovsky, which became a publishing sensation in 2004. Having escaped Paris as the Nazis approached in 1940, Némirovsky moved to Issy-l’Evêque in Burgundy, where she started to work on her tale of war and peace. In 1942 Némirovsky died aged 39, after being transported to Auschwitz, her daughters found the journals years later and had them published.

The main storyline throughout the film is the growth of the loving relationship between Lucille Angellier (Michelle Williams) and Commander Bruno von Falk (Matthias Schoenaerts).

Of course, like all romances, there were complications as Bruno was a German commander who was staying at the house of Lucille’s authoritarian mother in-law, where Lucille also lived. Lucille was awaiting news from her husband, a prisoner of war, but instead found out some news which made her realise who she really loved.

It seemed to take a while for the passion in the relationship between Lucille and Bruno to blossom, and it became frustrating as there wasn’t the passion the audience were expecting.

Michelle Williams gives a strong performance, making Lucille an angelic and believable figure, Matthias Schoenaerts portrayed his character enchantingly, playing his two contrasting roles believably.

Kristen Scott Thomas was cast well as the wicked stepmother, similar to Schoenaerts, Kristen played a believable role showing two sides of one character.

Suite Française, has an unpredictable ending and leaves you wanting more.