Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
This film is based on a short novel by Russian author Anton Chekhov, with the settings changed to 1870 France. It concerns the romantic frustration of two extremely pleasant and civilized people. Alexandre (Jacques Villaret) is a middle-aged bachelor, pleasant and well-to-do, who fears the prospect of a lonely old age. With that in mind, he proposes to Julia (Sabine Azema), the beautiful and young only daughter of the town doctor. Given the lack of any real acquaintance between them, when she accepts his proposal, he is surprised. Once they are married, he is bitterly disappointed to discover that Julia married him because she also fears a lonely old age. Unskilled in matters of the heart, he had hoped and imagined that she was at least a little in love with him. When a financial reverse looms on the horizon, he throws himself into work and ignores his relationship with his new wife, who gradually has come to love him, though he remains unaware of this fact.