Marie-Joséphine: Chevalier character explained

Marie-Joséphine is Joseph Bologne’s love interest in Chevalier, but their love is doomed from the beginning. Samara Weaving plays the role of Marie-Joséphine.

Joseph meets Marie-Joséphine at a gathering. He hears her sing and is instantly mesmerized. Although Joseph is well known in the French high society, Marie-Joséphine is one of those who do not know him.

Joseph is not the only one who seems to be attracted to her since their first meeting; she seems to reciprocate the feeling. However, she is already married, and her husband is Marquis de Montalembert, a brute who is responsible for the country’s security.

The perfect lead singer

When Joseph composes his opera to compete with Christoph Gluck, out of all the singers in Paris, he wishes for Marie-Joséphine to play the lead in it. He goes to her house and narrates the story of Ernestine to her.

Chevalier Marie-Joséphine
Joseph narrates Ernestine to Marie-Joséphine

Marie-Joséphine is fascinated with the story, but her husband rejects Joseph’s offer without consulting her, as he does not like the idea of his wife singing and acting on the stage and attracting male attention.

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Marie-Joséphine does not like her husband speaking on her behalf, so when he goes away for the rest of the year, she decides to accept Joseph’s offer, who has not been able to find anyone to play the lead. For Joseph, Marie-Joséphine is perfect for this part.

A loveless marriage

Marie-Joséphine’s mother was her best friend and a kind woman. When she passed away, her father married someone else a month later, which made Marie-Joséphine feel like her mother was replaced easily as if she never meant anything to her father.

Her father also got Marie-Joséphine married, and she was trapped in a loveless marriage. She seems to be happy with her husband, to be an obedient wife to him, and to enjoy parlors and court, but it is all pretense.

In reality, she is bothered by her lack of autonomy. When she accompanies Joseph and Philippe to a secret meeting of the revolutionaries, she raises the question of women’s freedom and gender equality in the ideal world that they are striving for, which reflects her desire for freedom and equality in her marital life.

A doomed love affair

While practicing for the opera, Marie-Joséphine and Joseph grow close. The two of them then start sleeping together, and their relationship does not end even when Joseph is warned that he is inviting danger by being with her.

Marie-Joséphine does not regret or hate herself for cheating on her husband, as she does not love him. Her relationship with Joseph is different; they share their dreams and hopes and talk about living on a deserted island one day.

Chevalier Marie-Joséphine
Marie-Joséphine plays the part of Ernestine

Marie-Joséphine plays the lead in Joseph’s opera, and that becomes a problem when her husband returns. Joseph is cornered by her husband and his men. Her husband would have broken Joseph’s hands to prevent him from playing the violin again if it was not for Marie-Joséphine begging him to stop.

Marie-Joséphine then leaves with her husband, even though Joseph tries to stop her. Soon, Joseph finds out that Marie-Joséphine is pregnant. He tries to contact her but fails to get her to reply.

Marie-Joséphine does not know who the father of her child is. When Joseph comes to talk to her, she asks him to stay away from her because she does not want her husband to find out about their affair.

Joseph tries to convince her to run away with him to a deserted island, the way they used to imagine, but Marie-Joséphine believes that they cannot be a happy family, as there is no freedom for them anywhere.

It turns out that Marie-Joséphine was carrying Joseph’s child, and when their son is born, her husband kills him. Marie-Joséphine visits Joseph after that and tells him that she said all those things to him because she wanted to protect him from her husband.

An upset Joseph realizes that he is not the only one who was in pain because of their son’s death. Marie-Joséphine, who carried and loved their son, is also suffering.

He feels sorry for her, but when she talks about meeting him on that island one day, he tells her that it is not going to happen, making it clear that there is no hope for them.

All hope for Marie-Joséphine and Joseph to be together ended with their son’s death, and so her last words to Joseph are about how their son was beautiful, which can also be said about their short relationship.

Also Read: Is Chevalier based on a true story?