There are men and women who win beauty pageants, conquer the world, win competitions or do really really well in college. And then there are the ones that take our heart. This is the movie that is the one you either forget as you've never seen it or fall in love with for the rest of your life, to the very bottom of your heart. The classic Balzac story is not adapted - it's cherished on to the screen. The movie is slow-paced, unrushed, just like the life rythm of nineteen century Paris, it's bulding up emotional intensity contrasting the unhurried pace. The lengthy passages that make readers roll their eyes and wish to skip pages transfer onto the screen as wonderful, thoughtfully accentuated details. What I loved about this movie is that the story was told without any fear of being percieved as too cheezy or undigestable for our emotionally desensitized yet psychologically overly educated culture. Was it love or passion or vanity or confusion of a heart lost in all three? Does it matter? I loved the fact that the heroine didn't flaunt a cookie-cutter beauty yet one couldn't take eyes off of her. I've seen women more beautiful, I hardly saw women more alive. I could go on and on about this movie which would make my review as long as one of Balzac's stories thought hardly as brilliant... If you love Balzac you should find this movie to be a rare, unforgettable treat.