Suite Française is a love story between Bussy resident Lucille Angellier (Michelle Williams) and Nazi officer Commander Bruno (Matthias Schoenaerts). As the town of Bussy deals with the burden of Nazi occupation, Angellier finds herself coming to empathise with Bruno. As a result, an unlikely romance blossoms, along with all the complications that are to be expected during the Nazi occupation of France. Meanwhile, betrayal, conspiracy and rebellion are sparked in almost equal measure among the locals.
The narrative, based on Irene Nemirovsky’s novel, is incredibly engaging. It skilfully conveys the peace that has been disrupted by the arrival of these German divisions. The performances too are of high quality but it slightly lacks in having a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ which may have edged it towards an award. But saying this, I do not have any complaints about this film, it was executed almost perfectly. I must praise the outstanding performances of Michelle Williams and Ruth Wilson (not purely because she is my favourite actress of mine!) Both of their performances were heart-wrenching and exceptional, you simply wouldn’t think they were acting. Matthias Schoenaerts delivers a touching and humanising performance as Bruno von Falk. I must also praise Kristin Scott Thomas as Madame Angellier, who, behind her sharp exterior, perfectly presented her endearing side to the audience, allowing us to empathise with her.
It may be promoted as a ‘polite’ wartime romance, but Suite Française is a much feistier one of the bunch, filled with paranoia and unease to reflect the horrors of the war. I promise you, this is a stylish and beautiful production, a compelling watch!