It is not unusual that we see a story of a ravishing girl desired by numerous men in a movie. Surprisingly, The Princess of Montpensier, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier, presents a lush, romantic drama that still manages to pluck at the viewer’s heartstrings. The Princess of Montpensier feeds our cravings for a picture depicting the dangerous nature of passion.

Set in the courts of 16th-century France, the film centers on a beautiful, young aristocrat, Marie (Mélanie Thierry). Amidst the violent Catholic and Protestant wars, Marie is kept in a bubble, engaged to the Prince of Montpensier (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet). The only problem: She’s not in love with him, but instead has already given her heart to the rakish Henri de Guise (Gaspard Ulliel). Torn between familial duties and her own burning feelings for Guise, she ultimately gives into the will of her father.

Sent to the remote castle of Montpensier, she is taken care of by Count Chabannes (Lambert Wilson) while her new husband takes off to war. What is it about Marie that attracts so many men: her pale glowing skin or her attractive personality? Either way, Count Chabannes does not surprise us at all when he too falls for Marie. Spending days and months teaching her poetry and writing while protecting her from the corrupt court ruled by Catherine de Medici, Chabannes is unable to withhold his feelings for her.

Tavernier recreates the 1622 novella of Madame de La Fayette into a contemporary manner. Aesthetically pleasing with its scenes proximal to nature and exploring themes of familial duty, political hierarchy and gender roles of the 16th century, the film may stir emotions in an unequivocal manner. A movie of jealousy, passion and anger, the viewer is taken on a rollercoaster ride of confusion developed by the complicated nature of human relationships and emotions.

Grade: C

The Princess of Montpensier releases in select theaters April 15.