Madame Bovary (♦♦♦)

Young Emma is Catholic educated in a convent. She marries country doctor Charles Bovary, with hopes that she will forever be happy. Soon after the marriage, the Bovarys move to a village, and the boring country living torments Emma.

An invitation to the neighboring estate of Marquis d'Andervilliers for a hunt, marks the beginning of her emancipation, for both Emma and the Marquis will engage in an all-consuming extramarital affair. And when the Marquis bids her farewell, Emma continues her affairs with passionate tax clerk Leon Dupuis. During these entanglements, Emma buys expensive gowns and trifles that lead the Bovarys to financial ruin.

Mia Wasikowska, so at ease in the roles of Jane Eyre, and as Albert Nobbs' paramour in Albert Nobbs, seems ill-fitted for the role of passionate Madame Bovary. I understand there are two sides to Emma Bovary: the one of discontented wife in a suffocating small village, and that side Wasikowska nails to perfection; she is somewhat lost as a passionate lover, however. I didn't think there was chemistry at all between Emma and her lovers, unless that was the point. Ezra Miller, so brilliant in We Need to Talk about Kevin and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, is also miscast as Leon Dupuis in this period piece.

Beautiful costume designs and music is what I liked about this movie. Unfortunately, these technical aspects of the film weren't sufficient to make me love it overall.

Comments

  1. I haven't seen this film but I reread the book last year and was reminded again of the very restricted life options that were available to a woman like Emma Bovary in the time about which Flaubert was writing. It would take a very good actress to portray Emma's emotional life.

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    1. I have not read the book so I felt puzzled by this: did she love those men, or were they an escapism? Because if she truly loved those men that didn't come across in the movie. Like I said, perhaps it was just lack of chemistry, but Wasikowska is not a very expressive actress. Her face doesn't project many emotions.

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  2. We had similar experiences watching this movie. I was quite disappointed (as were many of the critics.) But I have read the book and all through the movie I was waiting for it to come to life. Alas, despite the costumes and the music, the drama was flat and Mia's acting did little for me. In the book I became very involved with Emma. It seemed I felt her every emotion and even though she was not an admirable character she was completely believable. Not so in the movie. Ah well. So it goes.

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    1. I agree. I had doubts going in that she was going to be a good choice because she is not very expressive. I kept thinking, is that all there is?

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  3. Too bad about Mia in this role. Which actress would you have picked for Emma? hmm. I'd like to read the book sometime.

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    1. It's too bad, you're right, but I don't think it was entirely her fault. The male leads weren't passionate enough and there was no chemistry between them. Kate Winslet would have been perfect, I think, or Jessica Chastain with James McAvoy and Tom Hardy (maybe). Although I don't know if they would be too old for the role.
      I too would like to read the book sometime, particularly to understand what really moved her.

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