He promises to write, but fails to do so, leaving Pauline distraught and her family fearing for her health. Her elder sister, Elisabeth, who never had any time for the Captain, decides to pen letters from him, which works a treat and Pauline regains her joie de vivre.
Elisabeth, however, gets a bit carried away, painting the Captain as a hero, so when news comes through that an armistice has been reached, and that the Captain should be returning, Elisabeth is panic stricken. She therefore effectively writes his obituary.
Life really gets complicated when Elisabeth spots the Captain in town, no longer the dashing soldier but a smelly unkempt deserter. She does everything to convince him to leave, telling him that Pauline is now married with two children.
But the Captain, still hugely respected in town, with his own memorial, decides he will stay. Elisabeth ends up having to coach him in all his supposed adventures, that she created, but he further embellishes them to the great delight of audiences, especially the womenfolk.
The animosity between Neuville and Elisabeth provides the humour with the on-screen chemistry between Jean Dujardin and Mélanie Laurent reminding us a bit of Mr Darcy and Miss Bennett. Meanwhile Pauline hasn't lost her desire for him. In fact he's really enjoying himself, but Elisabeth is nothing if not resourceful. However her final ploy turns out to be a step too far and we then learn the truth about the Captain.
A very enjoyable film with a superb performance from Dujardin and Laurent, which was well received by the critics.