Synopsis by Mark Deming
A forward-looking woman attempts to teach a primitive child the ways of humanity as her neighbors prefer to remain in the past in this drama from Michael Mackenzie, which he adapted from his own play. In 1888, a wealthy heiress from Philadelphia (Patricia Clarkson) marries a British Baron (Colm Feore) and with him moves to Paris. Since the Baron travels often as he plies his trade as an art dealer, the Baroness finds herself alone at home, without friends or acquaintances. Hoping to attract a circle of intellectually challenging companions, the Baroness takes it upon herself to design a salon, which, along with up-to-the-minute furnishings and impressionist paintings, includes such new technology as electric lighting and a phonograph. However, the Baroness' new salon fails to earn her the respect of her neighbors, who tell the Baron they find his new bride's fascination with technology and democracy boorish and laughable. Making things worse, the Baroness comes to the realization that her husband is more interested in her money than her mind, and his sexual demands of her are brutal and violent. In time, the Baroness devotes her time to a new project -- a feral child (Caroline Dhavernas) has been found in a stable, where she lived with a heard of pigs, and the Baroness takes it upon herself to teach the child to walk, speak, and behave in a civilized manner, a task many believe is doomed to failure. The Baroness and the Pig was screened in competition at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival.