A lusty girl - 'a dancer, both vertical and horizontal,' as Marquise (Marceau) describes herself - is swept into the carnival atmosphere surrounding Molière's visiting touring company. Having married actor Gros-René, she travels with the troupe to Paris, where she is soon stealing the show with her interval tarantellas and drawing attention to herself with her sans-culottes cartwheels before Louis XIV (Lhermitte) and the bigwigs of Versailles. But, as the stagestruck Marquise forsakes Molière's boozy crew for the self-seeking charms of court favourite Racine (Wilson), will ambition or love prove her downfall? The theatrical whirl in which this whore's progress is set is that of the mid-1660s, the time of Molière's fall and Racine's rise. But the script uses both playwrights as mere agents in Marquise's melodrama, reducing them almost to caricature; only the acting skills of Wilson and, especially, Giraudeau, superb as Molière, make them sympathetic. Marceau dashes around with the brio of her D'Artagnan's Daughter, but as a stage actress she doesn't convince.
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