Madame Bovary

Reviewed by: Tami Smith, Guest Reviewer for Shockya.
Grade: B
Director: Sophie Barthes
Screenwriter: Felipe Marino, Sophie Barthes, based on Gustave Flaubert’s novel
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Rhys Ifans, Ezra Miller, Logan Marshall-Green, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Laura Carmichael, Olivier Gourmet, Paul Giamatti
Release date: DVD August 4, 2015

Madame Bovary have been scripted into films on the big screen many times, starting with the 1932 Albert Ray’s version, which was followed by 1949 Vincente Minneli’s, 1969 Hans Schott Schobinger’s, 1991 Claude Chabrol and the latest of 2014 Sophie Barthes’.

Director Barthes took some liberties with Flaubert’s novel, by introducing us to Emma (Mia Wasikowska), a pig-farmer’s daughter completing her studies at a French convent in Normandy, France, in the mid-1880s. She gets to wed Charles Bovary (Henry Lloyd-Hughes), a second-rate country doctor, after an arranged marriage which takes place in the local church. Bored with Charles Emma finds solace by spending extravagantly on expensive dresses and furniture, while dealing “on-credit” with Monsieur Lheureux (Rhys Ifans). She also develops an interest in extra-marital liasons with Leon Dupuis (Ezra Miller) and a Marquis (Logan Marshall-Green).

Mia Wasikowska is too young for the role of Emma Bovary, walking around with an unexplained perpetual facial frown. One cannot help but visualize, Isabelle Huppert in her late thirties during the 1991 version. Rhys Ifans presents a convincing snake-oil merchant as Monsieur Lheureux; Henry Lloyd-Hughes is serviceable as Charles Bovary and Paul Giamatti is reliable as the pharmacist, Monsieur Homais.

Director of photography Andrij Parekh takes advantage of the fabulous autumnal Normandy country side, while Christian Gasc and Valerie Ranchoux present us Emma in multiple costumes that grow more lavish by the hour.

The final scene of Madame Bovary is lifeless, directed in a sterile manner. Emma takes medicine from her husband’s office and collapses in the forest. I could not help but recall Isabel Huppert’s last scene, swallowing rat poison, almost chocking in the process, her mouth covered with white powder.

Rated R. 118 minutes. © Tami Smith, Guest Reviewer

Story: B-
Acting: B
Technical: B+
Overall: B

By Harvey Karten

Harvey Karten is the founder of the The New York Film Critics Online (NYFCO) an organization composed of Internet film critics based in New York City. The group meets once a year, in December, for voting on its annual NYFCO Awards.

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