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A Good Marriage (1982)

Le beau mariage (original title)
Sabine vows to give up married lovers, and is determined to find a good husband. Her best friend Clarisse introduces her to her cousin Edmond, a busy lawyer from Paris. Sabine pursues ... See full summary »




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Complete credited cast:
Huguette Faget ...
Maryse, Antique Dealer
Thamila Mezbah ...
Mother of Sabine
Sophie Renoir ...
Hervé Duhamel ...
Pascal Greggory ...
Virginie Thévenet ...
The Bride
Denise Bailly ...
Vincent Gauthier ...
Anne Mercier ...
La secrétaire
Catherine Rethi ...
Patrick Lambert ...


Sabine vows to give up married lovers, and is determined to find a good husband. Her best friend Clarisse introduces her to her cousin Edmond, a busy lawyer from Paris. Sabine pursues Edmond, with the encouragement of Clarisse, but Edmond does not seem very interested. Written by Will Gilbert

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

27 August 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Good Marriage  »

Filming Locations:


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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The second of Rohmer's six-part Comedies et Proverbes series. See more »


Followed by Summer (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

The treacherous nature of idealism
14 July 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Le beau marriage stars Beatrice Romand as Sabine the art history student and Andre Dussollier as Edmond the Parisian lawyer. This is one of Eric Rohmers comédies et proverbes, and like many of Rohmers masterpieces it floats on a stable ocean of entertaining narrative, but the disguised messages are found by plunging into the depths beneath. Many critiques have only given this gem a glancing opinion and stop at the story line, and though necessary, my postulation on the messages will remain my focus. The bare bones of the story regard Sabine who travels from Le Mans to Paris where she studies art history. She has regular liaisons with her lover Simon, the married painter, who would rather talk to his son on the telephone than continue to make love to Sabine. She breaks the liaison and back in Le Mans she declares to her friend Clarisse that she is going to be married, although she hasn't found a man to marry as yet. At a party Sabine is introduced by Clarisse to her cousin Edmond, a Parisian lawyer. It is in this first meeting that we see Beatrice Romands instinctual ability to portray instant attraction, exactly what we see in Romands Magali when she meets Gerald played by Alain Libolt in Conte d'automne . Sabine begins to pursue him whilst always trying to remain distant. This game is played to elicit his interest, but Edmond is always busy and hesitant. This drives Sabine's frustration and obsession as she decides that he is in love with her, and declares to all but Edmond that they are to be married. However Edmond never calls and ignores her constant massages until Sabine leaves herself no choice other than to confront him in his office in Paris, where he explains that he doesn't love her and leaves her no hope. Now to go deeper. The poignant force that chases Sabine into the arms of reality is a self inflicted humiliation, but it is also a study on the fragility of youthful perception and the power of our subconscious that remain the truthful messages of Le beau marriage. It is Sabines youthful belief that she can have anything she wants in the world just by deciding to want it that ultimately clashes with reality. As Sabine burst her naive statements upon the world she seems impetuous, obnoxious and spoilt, but isn't that the nature of youth? She is youth personified because that is youth's nature, and we watch her crash into the wall of maturity fighting all the way. She has lived a life of safety hidden amongst antiques, and she has been a mistress to an unchanging man who will always put his children first. She grasps to the comforting belief that she is an artist at heart and therefore dismisses the challenges of earning money, a career or even independence. But like the majority of us all , she has felt the shadow of reality at her back as the sunshine of her youthful oblivion begins to disappear over the horizon. Her solution to avoid reality is simple, to get married. But not just to find a man, she needs a man to fall deeply in love with her, to dote on her and provide a life where she can rest safely under a new and un-setting sun that shines on her denial . So convinced is she that her plan will fall into place, that she never realises that her advances are constantly met with dispassionate rejection. As she continues to make excuses for his behaviour and denies any possibility that her plan might not work, she in effect creates her own descending pathway towards reality. In fact she began to create this path by having an affair with Simon to begin with, and the force and conduct of her subconscious mind is manifest in her embrace of that humiliation. However, it is insufficiently toxic to alter the chemistry of her consciousness, and she impetuously dodges the ultimate ignominy of the affair to retreat deeper into her delusions. She finds herself embracing the impossible ideal of a perfect marriage without the need for love, but her subconscious hasn't given up and pushes her until all hope is exhausted, and she leaves herself no other option other than to immerse herself fully in humiliation. This moment occurs beautifully in Edmonds bureau as Beatrice delivers a stunning performance for which she deserved all the awards she received for Le Beau marriage. Beneath the stubborn and hopeful conviction of her consciousness, the inevitable rejection and humiliation are the catalysts she needs to step into maturity. In this scene we see the struggle, the sadness and the pain. We empathise with every emotion reflected in Sabine's eyes because we have all been through this moment, the moment where stubborn youth confronts the constraints of reality, the moment were that spark of invincibility is snuffed out and we realise that we are fragile and less significant than we thought. When we see her soft smile on the train back to Le Mans, it isn't with the dressings of protection we see her later adorned, but the transcendental nature of the human spirit, the reason that love and pain are so intertwined, the reason for the necessary changes in our lives and our necessary conformity to reality. It is this that she finally comprehends on her journey home, and when she later sits opposite another young man on the train, she receives the passing glance of attraction with acquiescent appreciation of the treacherous nature of idealism. Rohmer does for film what Tennessee Williams does for literature, he elegantly seduces us with unpredictable characters, then teases us with a depth of meaning. The Le beau marriage is no exception.

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