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France, late 1920. Thérèse marries her charming and free spirited neighbour Bernard Desqueyroux. They then join their properties forming a vast estate. Bernard has a forceful personality, but she is still fascinated by this young man and his opinions. However, she is quickly stifled by the tedium of provincial life and the intellectual mediocrity of her husband. She dreams of Paris, longing for stimulation and culture, and despite herself, starts looking for a way to escape. Until the day Bernard almost poisons himself with arsenic. What starts as an accident quickly turns into an attempt at poisoning. Thérèse is discovered and disgraced in her own family, as well as that of her husband.