Adapting an old period novel for showcasing on the big screen is never easy nor being able to pen the perfect script. But a genuine attempt to do it is all that matters, as long as it’s not a downright terrible adaptation. After seeing MADAME BOVARY based on Gustave Flaubert’s novel, I can’t comprehend why this film receives bad reviews. Based on what I’ve seen, it was done quite solidly. Or perhaps, every time we see an adaptation of a classical novel, we expect to see a new version of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY. But let’s remember one crucial fact, that the screenplay for SENSE AND SENSIBILITY was written by Emma Thomson. And as you must already be aware of, not everyone is born to write the way Emma Thomson can…
Emma Bovary lives in a bubble of dreams. She thinks, after getting married her life will change significantly… and it does, but not in the way she expected. After moving into the village with her doctor husband Charles Bovary (Henry Lloyd-Hughes), Emma finds her daily life has become uneventful. Her social status does not go up and is afraid that the rest of her life may continue the same way. Her husband, however, tries to make her happy whenever the time allows him due to his busy schedule, but the happiness she seeks is not within his capability. This is why Emma throws herself into affairs with Leon Dupuis (Ezra Miller) and The Marquis (Logan Marshall-Green) in order to make her life and social status different… until the moment she realizes she’s gone too far with her debts and relationships to fix her already damaged life…
Sophie Barthes’ attempt to adapt an old fashioned story works quite well here. It may not be as perfect as some viewers may have anticipated. However, she manages to show the vulnerabilities of Emma and the reasons why she starts looking for romance somewhere else. Casting Mia Wasikowska was a good choice, as through her performance I was able to read the real intentions of Emma while she is on her way to ruin not only her marriage, but her life as well… The leading male cast looks impressive too. Despite none of them sharing real chemistry with Wasikowska, it appears to be the right choice, as the story itself is not about happy endings or great love story. If that were so, you could imagine it would be a different film. The characters in the film are like an open book, especially the male ones, where you can easily tell why they are so fond of Emma. After all, she does not mind secretly dedicating her free time for them and they see no reason to not take advantage of it.
In conclusion, MADAME BOVARY is an interesting film to watch for those who do not expect to see another great adaptation of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. MADAME BOVARY is a dark film about a woman who looks for something she could have never gotten from her husband – a passionate love, perhaps… or a high rank status in society. Barthes’ film manages to keep it that way in order allow us to understand Emma’s intentions. But we do or not, is something that has nothing to do with the film, but rather with the book, where of course the character is always better developed than in the film.
2 thoughts on “Film Review: Madame Bovary (2015) ★★★★”
Will have to give this a watch.
It’s very much interesting film. And I don’t understand why famous film critics write bad reviews. Not like I mind, but it’s not bad film at all. At least, I did not feel bored, which happens to me quite often… thank you for reading my review. I appreciate that:)
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