Beautiful Isabelle Adjani plays the title role, the daughter of the great Victor Hugo. Victor Hugo may be a great man, but the life of his family members were a ruin. Léopoldine was drowned at the age of 19, his 2 sons were imprisoned, and Adèle went crazy.
Adèle meets Lieutenant Pinson in Guernsey and they both are in love. However, Pinson is quickly bored of her. His love for her fades away as his regiment moves to Halifax in 1863. For Pinson, Adèle is only one of his lovers; but for Adèle, Pinson is her whole world. Without telling her parents, she follows him to Halifax. Under a false name, no one realizes that the daughter of Victor Hugo lives among them.
Adèle spends her time to go to the bank to pick up letters and money from her father, buys paper from a book shop, and follow Pinson. She has her imagination run wild and uses different names, including Mrs Pinson. She even writes to her father to tell him that she and Pinson have married. Her father puts a notice about the wedding in the newspaper, which makes Pinson gets a warning from his superior. Finally, knowing that Adèle has lied about the marriage and because her mother is dead, her father asks her to return home; but she refuses. When the regiment moves again to Barbados, Adèle's condition is worse and she walks around in public wearing torn clothes. The woman who takes care of her writes to her father to bring her home.
This is a sad movie. Adèle was so beautiful and talented (she was a composer); yet her life was a disaster. If only she were stronger in spirit. It's the 2nd time I saw Isabelle Adjani played a famous woman with a disastrous life. [The other is Camille Claudel.] About the movie, it is not as good as I had expected. Les 400 coups, which was also directed by François Truffaut, is great, but I feel the editing of this Story of Adèle has weaknesses. It feels like the story doesn't run smoothly... because of it's a true story and there are so many things to tell? I also don't like the way Adèle writes her letters is portrayed. Writing is slower than speaking - unless one writes in shorthand, which is not in this case - and here we see Adèle writes while speaking her thought at the same time.