The Beautiful Person

The Beautiful Person (French: La Belle Personne) is a 2008 French film directed by Christophe Honoré.[2] It is a modernized adaptation of the 1678 French novel La Princesse de Clèves.

The Beautiful Person
The Beautiful Person poster.jpg
FrenchLa Belle Personne
Directed byChristophe Honoré
Screenplay byChristophe Honoré
Gilles Taurand
Based onLa Princesse de Clèves
by Madame de La Fayette
Produced bySophie Barrat
Florence Dormoy
Joëy Faré
StarringLouis Garrel
Léa Seydoux
Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet
CinematographyLaurent Brunet
Edited byChantal Hymans
Music byAlex Beaupain
Release dates
  • 10 September 2008 (2008-09-10) (San Sebastián)
  • 12 September 2008 (2008-09-12) (France)
Running time
90 minutes
Box office$748,217[1]

Honoré was inspired to make the film after then French president Nicolas Sarkozy repeatedly criticized the book as irrelevant in regard to modern life.[3]


After the death of her mother, Junie transfers to the school that her cousin Mathias attends. She catches the attention of a lot of people, especially Otto and Nemours, her Italian teacher. In Italian class, a record of Maria Callas singing Lucia plays, which causes Junie to rush out crying, leaving her affairs behind. Nemours sees a photo of her taken by another student and swipes it. After this, Nemours pursues her even though she has mixed feelings about it. He is so enamored by her that he breaks off his relationships with Florence Perrin, a teacher, and Marie, a student. Nemours switches seats with Mathias during a field trip. Marie sees a letter left on the seat and it spreads throughout the student body. This letter is a love letter that all of the students think was written by Nemours. Junie, upon reading the letter, becomes very upset, believing that Nemours is in love with somebody else. Mathias goes to Nemours and explains that it was his letter from another boy named Martin and asked him to say that it belonged to the teacher. One of Otto's friends from the Russian language class is asked to spy on her after Junie acts cold to Otto and sees Nemours acting tender to Junie. He mistakes it for kissing and Otto confronts Junie about the misunderstanding. She denies it and goes home. Otto kills himself the next day by jumping from a very high floor at school. After Otto's suicide, Junie skips school for three weeks coming only after Nemours tells Mathias that he will be taking sick leave until the end of the semester. Nemours follows Junie around and she decides to approach him. He asks for some time to talk to her and they are seen running around the city like children. He takes her back to his room where she starts talking about love. He takes her home where they set a date for 5pm the day after next. Nemours waits till seven, then calls Mathias. Mathias comes down and tells Nemours that Junie left yesterday, and he is not allowed to say where and to forget about her. Junie also said she never wanted to see Nemours again. Junie is seen on a ship departing for somewhere else.


In parenthesis are the corresponding characters from La Princesse de Clèves, and where appropriate the historical originals.


Award / Film Festival Category Recipients and nominees Result
César Awards Most Promising Actor Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet Nominated
Most Promising Actress Léa Seydoux Nominated
Best Adaptation Christophe Honoré and Gilles Taurand Nominated
Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur Best Actress Léa Seydoux Won
Lumières Awards Most Promising Actress Léa Seydoux Nominated
Prix Jacques Prévert du Scénario Best Adaptation Christophe Honoré and Gilles Taurand Nominated


  1. ^ "The Beautiful Person". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  2. ^ Mintzer, Jordan (22 September 2008). "The Beautiful Person". Variety. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  3. ^ Gallix, Andrew. "Why a 17th-century novel is a hot political issue in France". Retrieved 11 September 2016.

External linksEdit