Madame Bovary movie review: why woman why cry?

Madame Bovary red light

MaryAnn’s quick take…

A cold, sterile film, bereft of the spirit and danger Gustave Flaubert’s groundbreaking novel demands.
I’m “biast” (pro): love Mia Wasikowska
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
I have not read the source material
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

It’s kind of ironic, but if you want a sense of the stifling, dull life young Emma Bovary desires escape from, in her early-18th-century rural French countryside, this rendition of Gustave Flaubert’s groundbreaking novel Madame Bovary does a pretty good — if unintentional — job of it. Not even the awesome Mia Wasikowska (Maps to the Stars) can save this tepid and charmless adaptation, from director Sophie Barthes, which is a real shame, because it’s a wonderful classic tale of how the things the world told (and still tells) women we should be happy with — a reliable husband; a nice home — simply aren’t enough for women of intelligence and ambition of their own. But we never get a true sense of Emma’s brains or passion, or even that the dissatisfaction of her marriage to not-very-capable country doctor Charles (Henry Lloyd-Hughes: Man Up) is made up for by her affairs with dreamy student Leon (Ezra Miller: City Island) or rich bastard Marquis D’Andervilliers (Logan Marshall-Green: As I Lay Dying). This Emma is more petulant child than untamed wild woman, and the film is tepid where it should be torrid. One highlight is Rhys Ifans (Serena) as the cunning merchant who seduces Emma into credit and debt in order to finance the high life she thinks she wants, but mostly this is a cold, sterile film, bereft of the spirit and danger the story demands.

See also my #WhereAreTheWomen rating of Madame Bovary for its representation of girls and women.

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.
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