The Princess of Montpensier [UK Release] Blu-ray Review
- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, German DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Subtitles: German, English
- Region: B (Region-Locked)
- Certification: 15
- Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
- Studio: StudioCanal
- Run Time: 140 Mins.
- Blu-ray Release Date: October 31, 2011
- RRP: £22.99
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
Bertrand Tavernier’s adaptation of Madame de La Fayette’s short story, The Princess of Montpensier, is a lavish and romantic costume drama with gorgeous landscapes, beautiful costumes, and strong performances all around. Set in 1567 France during the clash between Catholics and Huguenots, it tells the story of Marie (played by the stunning Mélanie Thierry, who looks like a young Brigitte Bardot) who finds herself caught between three lovers and cousins, the roguish Henri de Guise (Gaspard Ulliel), the husband she was forced to marry for the sake of her family, Philippe (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet), and the lustful king’s son, Anjou (Raphaël Personnaz). Her tutor, her husband’s friend Comte de Chabannes (Lambert Wilson), is the only solace she finds to give her guidance. But Chabannes has his own troubles, being caught between both sides in the ongoing religious war.
Despite the beautiful cinematography and wonderful performances, particularly from Wilson, The Princess of Montpensier falls short on a few accounts. The story and characters are thin, too prone to melodrama rather than real development; there’s no real connection formed with any of the men vying for Marie’s affection, and no reason to believe, really, why she would throw away her future for a fling with a childhood sweetheart who shows no real evidence of being completely committed to being loyal to her. The historical backdrop seems, at first, compelling, but it is only given a passing acknowledgement, and unless you are versed in French history, can easily become lost.
The AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement looks excellent. It has a clean image with a very thin layer of grain, sharp detail and strong, nuanced shadow delineation. Flesh tones look natural, and there are no signs of video noise or macroblocking.
The French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is a really strong mix. The battle scenes are powerful, with full low frequencies and lots of directional panning across the front and rear to really engulf you in the sound of explosions and the clatter of swords. Dialogue is clean and clear and the overall soundcsape has a lush amount of reverberation and atmospherics.
There isn’t much here other than a making of and brief interview with the director, but the making of is longer than usual and offers lots of production footage and interviews with the cast and crew.
- Making Of (1.78:1; PAL; 00:58:39)
- Interview with Bertrand Tavernier (1.78:1; 00:24:22)
- Trailer (2.35:1)
The Definitive Word
The cinematography, sets, costumes, and, no doubt, Mélanie Thierry, are all stunning to look at, and The Princess of Montpensier does yield a satisfying watch, but it falls short of being good enough for repeat viewings. I recommend renting this one for a lovely date night viewing.
Additional Screen Captures