Is the story of an aristocratic 19th century French family of any interest today? I believe that it depends. Personally I think it is, as long as it touches some humanitarian aspects and allows the spectator to draw parallels to his present day aspirations. This film does that. It is not a masterpiece, but it is well focused and nicely narrated. To me the De Maupassant novel was just an excuse and, to be honest, I found the lyrical passages presented as commentaries to be the film's weakest points. The extensive use of close-ups was a great idea and added a special quality to the film. This does not mean that the wide shots were not good. The emphasis on the faces of the heroes was a very correct approach. The acting was very good and the unraveling of the story almost without flash backs was very helpful in understanding the changes in the family's fortunes. At the end of the day, I believe, that this was the point the film was trying to make. The ups and downs and it was very nicely depicted in the last sentence which closed the movie. It was really the summary of the adventures we watched.