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Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Madame Bovary (2015)

A young convent educated girl (Mia Wasikowska) leaves the convent to marry a country doctor (Henry Lloyd Hughes) she has never met. But she finds herself bored with provincial life and disappointed in her husband and soon begins spending money on extravagances and engaging in a series of illicit affairs. Based on the classic novel by Gustave Flaubert and directed by Sophie Barthes. This is at least the seventh film version of the Flaubert novel and it's been done on television a couple of times, too. While all versions have been variable in quality, none of them have ever quite captured the novel faithfully. Barthes' dour version is a failure on several levels. There's a way to suggest boredom and dullness in a character's life without making the film boring and dull. Some of the casting is egregious. Wasikowska is a good actress but you'd never know it here. Her line readings are flat as if she learned them phonetically. As an actress, she doesn't suggest an unconsumed passion for romance, she seems too practical. The most ineffective piece of casting is Ezra Miller as Leon who comes across as an androgynous 12 year old, hardly the type to inspire passion in a (normal) grown woman. The screenplay makes some changes from the book. It eliminates Emma's child, possibly in a bid to make her more sympathetic as well as the ball sequence and Charles Bovary is no longer the simple bumpkin of the novel. I found the most impressive thing about the film to be the superb costume design of Christian Gasc and Valerie Ranchoux. With Paul Giamatti, Rhys Ifans and Logan Marshall Green.

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