Support Frock Flicks with a small donation! During Snark Week and beyond, we’re grateful for your monthly pledges for exclusive content via Patreon or your one-time contributions via Ko-fi or PayPal to offset the costs of running this site. You can even buy our T-shirts and merch. Think of this like supporting public broadcasting, but with swearing and no tax deductions!
Starting with our second Snark Week, I’ve picked a shitty frock flick to recap, because I love sharing the blow-by-blows with you. While I’ve asked you to choose for the past few years, I decided to executive decision things this year, since y’all keep refusing to choose this gem — so this year, I will recap Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story (1987). Armand Assante as Napoleon! Jacqueline Bisset as Josephine! First, you must know that the costumes for this were designed by Michel Fresnay, who has designed numerous operas as well as a few TV movies, and was nominated for an Emmy for Best Costume Design. Let’s do this!
Josephine is truly in love with Napoleon! They are shmoopy.
Pauline is being slutty with a soldier in front of everyone. Napoleon hauls her into his study to yell at her and tell her she has to marry him. There’s some choice dialogue like “I don’t want to get married! I’m only sixteen!” Pauline tells Napoleon that he should look to his wife to find someone who has shamed the family.
Napoleon and Josephine are eating lunch, and Napoleon is very quiet. Josephine presses him, but he just says he has to execute an officer as an example to all the soldiers who are trying to shirk their duty. Josephine asks who it is, and it turns out it’s the Block of Wood. She’s aghast, Napoleon yells at her for fucking around, she’s apologetic and teary and there’s more choice dialogue.
Josephine tells Louise to pack her bags, she’s not hanging around for this torture. Napoleon is sweaty and upset, then comes into J’s room and has a seizure. She comforts him. At the last minute, Napoleon spares Block of Wood from execution.
Pauline gets married to her own Block of Wood! All the Bonapartes are there.
Josephine tries to chat up Mrs. Bonaparte, who tells her she’s too old for her son and is super bitchy.
Pauline purposefully rips Josephine’s train, but Josephine shrugs it off, saying she didn’t like it anyway and turning the lace into a shawl.
Napoleon returns triumphant to Paris, where cheering crowds welcome him. Barras and Talleyrand are determined that Napoleon not be allowed to join the consul (committee? whatever group is in power), and pass a law that you have to be 40 to be on it (N is only 29). At a ball, they talk Napoleon into leading an army to conquer Egypt.
The English aren’t happy about the French going into Egypt. Admiral Lord Nelson is off to fight them. Josephine was going to join on this trip, but Napoleon sends her to a spa once he finds out about the English.
At the spa, Josephine reunites with Therese, who is down on her luck. Josephine offers to lend her money.
Hortense comes in, all upset because her dog is fighting another and she can’t break them up. Instead of, ya know, asking someone nearby to help, she goes up several flights of stairs to get her mother. Josephine rushes down to help and trips and falls down the stairs.
A doctor attends Josephine, who should recover after more leeches. She asks him if this will affect her ability to get pregnant, he says only god knows.
Napoleon gives inspiring speeches in Egypt. The soldiers cheer but grumble. There’s other war stuff, but I literally tune out.
Josephine is nearly mended. She bonds with Hortense.
Block of Wood comes to visit, bringing a new PUPPY to replace Hortense’s who apparently DIED IN THE DOGFIGHT OH MY GOD.
Although Josephine is excited, she says nothing can ever replace the previous dog (yes, dog details are important!). She realizes that Louise is spying on them and is furious, because this can compromise her reputation with Napoleon.
Louise has been spying for Talleyrand. He pays her but has no further use for her since she’s been fired. He blackmails Mr. Tits Pervert into trying to tell Napoleon that Block of Wood visited Josephine, but Napoleon basically says “not now.”
Josephine has left Napoleon — he says it’s for Block of Wood, but that’s never clarified.
Josephine arrives with Hortense in tow to beg for Napoleon’s forgiveness. She never actually apologizes or explains, just bangs on the door and shouts “Let me in!” It’s implied that Napoleon may poison himself.
Eugene shows up and joins in the banging, and finally Napoleon relents. The family has a weirdly tender group hug.
Stay tuned for yet more Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story tomorrow!