In 1919, Germany is suffering the aftermath of its defeat in The Great War. Anna (Beer) mourns the loss of her fiancé Frantz (von Lucke); she still lives with his parents and visits his grave daily. One day she meets a sad-looking stranger in the cemetery named Adrien (Niney), a Frenchman who claims to have known Frantz from his days in Paris before the war. Despite persistent anti-French sentiment in town, Anna is intrigued by Adrien and finds herself drawn to his gentle, sensitive demeanor. Yet Adrien is harboring a shocking secret about how he and Frantz actually met.
Prolific French filmmaker Ozon takes his inspiration from Ernst Lubitsch’s classic “Broken Lullaby,” but pares back the melodrama while digging deep into themes of ill-fated romance and reconciliation after a period of bloody conflict. This touching, tender story about the scars of war off the battlefield still resonates today, as it did back in 1932, when a brilliant German director first brought this tale to the screen. Among a uniformly excellent cast, Beer is particularly captivating as a vulnerable young widow whose life seems to have ended before it has really begun.