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.