R | 99 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Review - Matt Mungle
Opens Friday, June 26 in select theaters including Angelika Dallas & Angelika Plano
Synopsis: In this vibrant seriocomic re-imagining of Flaubert’s literary classic Madame Bovary, life imitates art in uncanny ways when earthy British beauty Gemma Bovery (Gemma Arterton) and her furniture restorer husband Charles (Jason Flemyng) move to a charming ramshackle old farmhouse in the very same Norman village where the novel was written a century earlier. Their welcoming neighbor, local baker and Flaubert expert Martin Joubert (Fabrice Luchini), becomes entranced with Gemma and sets out to be her guide and mentor to her new surroundings. It doesn't take long before he is drawing parallels between the literary and real life woman, while he insinuates himself into her life.
Review: This is a very whimsical tale portrayed in true French fashion. Martin is a quiet man with a very passionate imagination. His fascination with Flaubert's novel catapults him in to this belief that he is seeing Madam Bovary playing out right in front of him. It is true that Gemma has many of the same qualities and makes many of the same poor judgments. This only helps to meld the two stories quite nicely.
Arterton is perfect in the role and has a captivating spirit about her. She is naturally sensual and simplistic in her beauty. These traits not only help convey the character of Gemma but also reflect those of Flaubert's character. She has many diverse roles but seemed very much at home in this one.
The film is in French/English with English subtitles. The French countryside and way of life breath a gentle, relaxed atmosphere to the film. There is no hurry to get through it and it is enjoyable to see the story unfold organically. Joubert is passionate not only about literature but his homeland as well. The dialogue and discussions also ground it to the region.
It is a lighthearted film but also one sprinkled with romantic drama. As in Madame Bovary the central character has a heart that is easily swayed and her lack of contentment pulls her from lover to lover. Unlike Emma though Gemma is not looking for position but something to stir her soul.
GEMMA BOVARY is rated R for sexuality/nudity and language. It is an adult film and intended for mature audiences. It is not gratuitous or flagrant with the content but rather, well, very French. It is a seductive and flirty film that tells a fun and fanciful story. I give it 3.5 out of 5 begets. Mainly due to the spirit Gemma brings to the character and the passion of Joubert.