ADRIENNE DE LENVERPRÉ, FOUR
I don’t know how many people have watched the period drama The Bonfire of Destiny (Le Bazar de la Charité), but it’s so good I want to give it a shoutout by examining one of the three lead characters.
Based on real events in 1897 Paris, a fire at a charity bazaar decimates the venue and kills many of the women supporting the display. The show follows three of the women after the tragedy. Adrienne survives because she never attended. Instead, she uses the bazaar as a front while she has a tryst with her lover. We’d just seen her husband, denying her request for a divorce, hit her and send away their child without her permission or knowledge. After the fire, Adrienne realizes she can let her husband think she died as so many others did.
Adrienne is not completely sympathetic nor a mastermind at her ruse. She’s a fully developed character, flaws and all. While living with her lover she plots how to kidnap her daughter (who will return for Adrienne’s funeral) and run away with her. She sells her necklace to a pawn broker without realizing that thieves have robbed the mortuary of the dead women’s jewelry and the police are now investigating. It’s only a matter of time until her husband knows she’s alive and comes after her.
Who is this person who is ruled by passion and emotion? Clearly a Heart Type, not Head. She’s impulsive, not a planner. Shall we jump right to Four? She’s a bit selfish, endangering her lover with her recklessness. Her friends were greatly impacted by the fire, yet she never wonders how they’re doing. When Adrienne approaches her sister to ask for money, she doesn’t anticipate how distraught and angry the sister will be when she learns Adrienne is alive. She’s singularly focused on her daughter, not only to reunite with her but to save her from the father. Her motives are strong, but she’s careless in how she goes about achieving them.
It’s a compelling portrayal. Just to tease the show a little further: Adrienne has the least complicated story of the three! I couldn’t even begin to write about Alice’s dilemma in a concise review, nor Rose’s without spoiling many heart-wrenching details. I highly recommend this limited series.