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The Story of Adele H.
The Story of Adele H
Actors: Isabelle Adjani, Bruce Robinson, Joseph Blatchley, Ivry Gitlis, Sylvia Marriott
Director: François Truffaut
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
PG     2001     1hr 36min

A profoundly beautiful movie (The New York Times), The Story of Adele H. is a haunting film based on a true story about desire, devotion...and madness. OscarÂ(r)-nominated* Isabelle Adjani stars in this lush portrait of a...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Isabelle Adjani, Bruce Robinson, Joseph Blatchley, Ivry Gitlis, Sylvia Marriott
Director: François Truffaut
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 01/23/2001
Original Release Date: 01/01/1975
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1975
Release Year: 2001
Run Time: 1hr 36min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 16
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, French, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

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Movie Reviews

Love and derangement
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 01/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The descent into delusion and insanity is skillfully portrayed by Isabelle Adjani in this film that opens by stating that it is about "events that really happened, and people who really existed".
Set mostly in Halifax, beginning in 1863, the cinematography by Nestor Almendros is exquisite, with the camera lovingly capturing Adjani's gorgeous face. Using a somber palette, with occasional patches of brilliant red, it often has the look of an old painting, and the music of the early 20th century composer Maurice Jaubert fits in nicely.Francois Truffaut (who 19 minutes into the film makes a brief cameo appearance) tells this story with gentleness and sensitivity, keeping the pace flowing; though a rather gloomy tale, it never gets either depressing or boring. It shows what started out as love, with a resolution to bravely cross the ocean to be with her lover, become increasingly demented, from being a stalker, to debasing herself by her willingness to "share", to the end, which takes place in Barbados. In the short and almost mute part of Baa, Madame Louise is a powerful and beautiful presence.Adjani won numerous awards for this 1975 film, and was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar (Louise Fletcher won for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"). Though the make-up is subtle and clever, it's her stellar performance that bring believability to this film.
The historical photos and information in the final scene are fascinating, and make for a satisfying ending to another of Truffaut's great films, and one I have enjoyed seeing numerous times."
Truly Extraordinary
Only-A-Child | 06/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Thirty years later it is hard to imagine "The Story of Adele H" without the then twenty-year old Isabelle Adjani as the title character. But at the time Truffaut's decision to cast the young French theatre star was very risky. Not because there was any doubt about Adjani's acting, but because casting someone who was arguably the most beautiful actress in the world as a character driven mad by unrequited love raised a potential credibility issue. Would viewers believe that the advances of a woman so beautiful, passionate, and intelligent were rejected? And could someone like that elicit sympathy from the average viewer.

But Truffaut knew what he was doing because Adjani's Adele Hugo is 100% convincing. And rather than going for audience sympathy they go for audience frustration as the viewer is increasingly exasperated over Adele's self-destructive behavior. Adjani's breathtaking beauty actually is an asset as Truffaut wants you convinced that the world offers unlimited possibilities for Adele if only she can let go of her obsession. Adjani plays the character with such intensity that you are finally relieved when Adele's madness has reached the stage where she is no longer aware of her own suffering.

Apparently Adele had other issues before going on her obsessive quest for love. Her sister drowned a few years before and her parents had always strongly favored her sister. Adele has recurrent nightmares about drowning. Marriage and her pursuit of Pinson are her only way to escape from her famous father. Truffaut's stays with blacks, browns, and blues; with much of each frame filled with shadows; not exactly dreary but consistent with a character who has found little non-fantasy happiness during her life.

The camera loves Adjani, a good thing as she is on screen for over 90% of the film. She was the youngest nominee ever for best actress. It was the best performance of the 1970's, probably no one but Adjani could have conveyed such inner emotional violence. It is that extremely rare visual performance that does not need subtitles or even sound.

As Roger Ebert noted: "Truffaut finds a certain nobility in Adele. He quotes one of the passages in her diaries twice: She writes that she will walk across the ocean to be with her lover. He sees this, not as a declaration of love, but as a statement of a single-mindedness so total that a kind of grandeur creeps into it. Adele was mad, yes, probably - but she lived her life on such a vast and romantic scale that it's just as well Pinson never married her. He would have become a disappointment".

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.

A wonderful French movie with a beautiful actress!
Carmela Altieri | Williston Park, NY United States | 01/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Isabelle Adjani again takes on a role of the rejected lover. This is the true story of Victor Hugo's daughter Adele, who enamoured of a military man, follows him to Halifax and refuses to accept his rejection. She does a fine job of depicting a young lady who has gone off the edge. The story is reminiscent of her portrayal of Camille Claudel, another excellent movie. Isabelle Adjani is beautiful to look at and does a fine job of portraying Adele. I enjoyed this film very much. For those who do not understand French, there are moments when English is used throughout the film. The subtitles do justice to the French."
Beautiful Haunted Girl
Carmela Altieri | 01/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is the most amazing story of obsessive love I have ever seen. Isabel Adjani is so attractive it takes my breath away. I could watch this movie over and over, and have. The cinematography is very good, and the acting is also exceptional."