I probably shouldn't lean on Dave Kehr for my own reviews, but he makes it too hard not to:
Vigne is one of several contemporary French filmmakers who have returned to the long-despised “Tradition of Quality,” and his film is about as good as this kind of thing can be—an intriguing story, excellent performances, fine period detail, lovely cinematography—without really having the personal force of a work of art.
...Exactly. Le Retour de Martin Guerre is a fine, solidly directed film, fairly engrossing with an "intriguing premise" and "fine period detail", but, in addition to overextending itself, that's all there is to thing—a great story told well in the most normal manner possible. Which is fine, but it doesn't exactly stick with you.
Anyhow, young Depardieu was quite handsome and charismatic, wasn't he?