Based on Irène Némirovsky’s bestselling novel, Suite Française challenges the true nature of people through forbidden love, generosity and understanding during a time of vast demise and depression resulting from the horrors of war.
Directed by Saul Dibb, it is a romantic drama set in the small French village Bussy. The film follows the tribulations of Lucile Angerllier (Michelle Williams), who become romantically involved with a Nazi solider Bruno Von Falk (Matthias Schoenaerts); when he is ordered to reside at Lucile’s mother-in-law’s house.
Restricted and controlled by her mother-in-law, Madama Angellier (Kristin Scott Thomas) Lucile is mostly confided to her house or is ordered around their village collecting rent from Madame Angellier’s tenants. Due to the depression of the nation Lucile’s only form of joy and expression is from playing the piano her late father bought her. However, Madama Angellier restricts her from doing so; since her son is not home to hear it. Lucile soon comes to notice that the Nazi officer, living in their house, is a composer and the two are drawn closer through their love and appreciation of music.
The film explores the trials of conforming to the duties of one’s situation and doing what is morally right along with the hardships placed upon relationships during such a horrific time period. Whilst living in such a small village the pair are subject to scrutiny and consequently Lucile struggles to balance her beliefs, friendships and alliances as well as following her heart. Bruno claims to have nothing in common with the rest of the soldiers but the pair still struggle to maintain their relationship and Lucile is soon faced with even greater challenges.
The film is excellently framed, the soundtrack is simply beautiful and it is also very heart-warming as it reflects the true reality of forbidden love through the juxtaposed lives of two people drawn together by a shared desire for music as well as each other. Suite Française makes for an interesting watch, not only is it a romantic drama but it is also rather informative and historical, as it highlights the lives of those facing the challenges of War in their home town whilst under the watching eye of their enemy.
Suite Française is suited to those who enjoy a passionate drama and appreciate the joy and love music provides.
Review Score: THREE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Suite Française is available now on DVD and Blu-Ray.