Therese is a girl who has been betrayed by her mother who said they would not part, but ended up getting married and sending Therese to an all-girl's school, There Therese meets and falls in love with Isabelle, another student, and together they fall in love and have a lesbian sexual relationship. Although they vow never to part, Isabelle is pulled out of school and the relationship is ended.
The film is black-and-white. There is a lot of emotional power in the movie in the relationship between the two girls. This is not a pornographic film at all, but it does have its erotic moments. The two girls are seen totally nude from the back and nude from the waist up from the front. There are no up-close explicit shots; the film relies on emotions more than on graphic activities.
Therese has been through a lot and the viewer may feel end up feeling sorry for her. I, for one, would like to know how she adapted to life at the school after Isabelle left.
During the love-making scenes there is usually a voice-over with phrases from the book and those do tend to be rather over-flowerly. The musical background is acceptable. Again, though, the focus of the movie is on the two girls falling in love with each other more than anything else.
I think that it's a wonderful movie, something that deeply affected me when I first saw it, and it still affects me today.
There is one mystery I can't solve, though. Some of the review I have read refer to scenes where the girls have nasty encounters with men, presumably sexual ones, perhaps even rape. Each review that says this, though, seems to be a copy of the same review seen in other places. I didn't see anything like that in the movie I watched, so I don't know if there is another version of the movie out, or if some people are using the same review and the review itself is inaccurate.
The story opens with Therese revisiting the school she went to twenty years later. She recalls that happened to her there and before. Her father had died and her mother remarried. Despite a promise that Therese would always be with her, her mother and her step-father shunted her off to this all-girl's school. Thus, Therese felt betrayed.
At the school she met and fell in love with a girl name Isabelle, and they had a short lesbian relationship. In the present time, as she walks through the empty school, she enters the places that meant something to her (like her room) and recalls things that happened when she was at the school.
The two girls had sex on more than one occasion. Another girl ends up smarting off to Isabelle and they get into a major fight. To prevent Isabelle from getting in trouble, Therese creates a diversion.
(This creates a major problem in logic. Therese acted like she got hit by a car. One of the school's proctor's tells Isabelle to take Therese to the town to see the doctor. They walk to town. Now, if you suspected someone had been hit by a car and possibly injured, wouldn't it be more logical to take the person to the doctor's via a car or ambulance?)
They end up going to the French equivalent of a Japanese love hotel. Things don't work out well, though, as Therese keeps thinking of the place as a place for 'dirty people' and Isabelle wants Therese to think only of her and have sex.
Although they promise to stay together forever, just like Therese's mother promised her they would be together always and then got married and sort of shut Therese out, Isabelle's parents take her out of the school without even telling Therese.