Francois Truffaut has made a romantic period drama about a young woman destroyed by her overwhelming love for a philandering British lieutenant.
She is the daughter of French writer Victor Hugo, the latter in political exile from France after he opposed the new Empire. Film begins with her arriving at a British channel island in 1863. She is looking for the lieutenant who had seduced her and whom she loved but who was looked down on by her family. She finds him but he refuses her and she sinks into madness.
She hounds him, announces their marriage and even follows him to Barbados. She is taken back to Paris where she lives out a long life, to die in obscurity.
Truffaut has gotten an exemplary performance from Isabelle Adjani as the anguished Adele H. The film builds a touching portrait and has a concise feel for the times, plus a needed timelessness in this impasse of reason and desire.