Jules and Jim are friends in Paris in 1912, Jules is Austrian and Jim is French. Together they meet Catherine, another Parisian and both fall for her but Jim, realising that Jules is also smitten with her, lets their relationship flourish, hiding his true feelings. The War erupts in 1916 and Jules eventually marries Catherine and takes her back to Austria. When the war is over both men have survived and Jim gets back in touch with the couple, who now have a child, and eventually visits them. Jules is still dedicated to her, but Catherine realises she still does not know what she wants from life, and begins an affair with Jim. Jules realises what is happening, but prefers to not mention it, not willing to jeopardise the love he has for his wife.
Reasserting the young François Truffaut's reputation after this breakthrough with The 400 Blows, Jules and Jim
proved he could handle adult subjects, and the result is a tender and totally convincing love triangle in which each of the three characters is clearly defined yet complex, and their three-sided relationship is sympathetically viewed from each angle. Oscar Werner is heart-tugging as Jules, devoted to Catherine but also knowing of her eventual affair with Jim. For Catherine's motivation it is not through lack of her feelings for Jules, but rather a lack of knowing what, or who, she herself wants. Henri Serre gives a wonderful performance as Jim, desperately in love but willing to make the ultimate sacrifice and see the woman he loves marry another. Beautifully directed and achingly sensitive, Truffaut's film is a touching and intelligent romance.