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| 22 May 2016 | Reply

Directed by Anne Fontaine
Starring Fabrice Luchini, Gemma Arterton, Jason Flemyng
Shock Entertainment – September 2015
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Gemma Bovery DVD

Martin Joubert (Fabrice Luchini) is a happily enough married baker in a small Normandy town, when young English couple Gemma & Charlie Bovary (Gemma Arterton and Jason Flemyng) move in next door. Joubert – a man whose marriage may be dull, but who remains passionate about 19th century author Flaubert, especially his classic Madame Bovery, which was written in that very village. The coincidence of Joubert’s new neighbours’ surname is not lost on him, and he becomes instantly entranced – obsessed, even – by Gemma.

When the Bovarys start acting similarly to Flaubert’s literary creations – Gemma embarks on an affair with the son of the local lord of the manor, before being surprised by the arrival of an ex-lover, coinciding with the unconnected departure of husband Charlie.

The movie is slow paced – not in a critical way, but in the same way that life in a charming country village is slow – and much of it seems to be the Gemma Arterton Show. The soft focussed slides up and down Arterton’s body slowly, sensually, provocatively, showing us the extent of Joubert’s infatuation time and again, echoing the sensuality of the original novel.

The ending seems a bit contrived – a slightly clumsy tying up of loose ends, perhaps meant to give a poetic bit of rough justice to Joubert’s obsessiveness. It seems out of place, but this is still a lovely afternoon film even if you haven’t read the original 1856 novel.


Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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