An aristocratic young noblewoman discovers that the course of true love is littered with stinging disappointments in director Stephane Brize’s handsome award-winning period drama set in 19th century Normandy, which is adapted from the novel penned by Guy de Maupassant.
Following her formal education at a convent, Jeanne Le Perthuis des Vauds (Judith Chemla) returns to the idyllic chateau owned by her father Baron Simon-Jacques (Jean-Pierre Darroussin).
She enjoys lazy summer days with her mother Adelaide (Yolande Moreau) and childhood companion Rosalie (Nina Meurisse), dreaming of a fairy-tale romance to sustain her when her parents are gone.
Jeanne hopes that handsome suitor Viscount Julien de Lamare (Swann Arlaud) might be that white knight and the couple eventually marries. However, the cold reality of wifely duties comes as a terrible shock to Jeanne and the marriage founders.
In her hour of need, she seeks comfort in the company of Countess Gilberte de Fourville (Clotilde Hesme) and local cleric Picot (Olivier Perrier), who offers to facilitate reconciliation with Julien.