Beloved begins in 1963 in Paris, moves to Prague in the late ’60s, then London in the ’90s and ends up in Montreal in the early 2000’s.
The story first introduces young heroine Madeleine (Ludivine Sagnier as the younger character and Catherine Deneuve as the older Madeleine) in 1963 Paris, where she works as a shoe-loving shop girl but moves on to better money as a prostitute. One of her customers is handsome Czech doctor Jaromil (Rasha Bukvic), who makes her a respectable wife.
They split because the Prague Spring tumult is growing, but Madeleine soon joins him in Prague, where their daughter Vera is born. But when Jaromil turns to other women and the Russian tanks turn to Prague, Madeleine returns to Paris. Yet their love survives as more complications emerge.
Decades later in London, the story of the adult Vera (Chiara Mastroianni) starts. She falls for handsome American drummer Henderson (Paul Schneider). Her sidelined boyfriend, writer Clement (Louis Garrel), suffers with the betrayal and soon it is Vera’s turn when she learns Henderson is gay.
Meanwhile, back in Paris, Madeleine is remarried to the kindly Goriot (Michel Delpech) but rekindles her romance with now older ex-husband Jaromil (Milos Forman) in his hotel room. More drama follows, including Vera becoming stranded in Montreal at the time of the 9/11 attacks, a breakdown, a pregnancy, a terrible illness, and a sentimental burial at Reims in France.