Martin, an ex-Parisian well-heeled hipster passionate about Gustave Flaubert who settled into a Norman village as a baker, sees an English couple moving into a small farm nearby. Not only ...
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Paul Andrew Williams
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Martin, an ex-Parisian well-heeled hipster passionate about Gustave Flaubert who settled into a Norman village as a baker, sees an English couple moving into a small farm nearby. Not only are the names of the new arrivals Gemma and Charles Bovery, but their behavior also seems to be inspired by Flaubert's heroes.Written by
Toronto International Film Festival
While Valerie and Martin lie in bed arguing about the banality of Madame Bovary, Valerie is reading a biography of Francois Mauriac. Mauriacs most famous novel Thérèse Desqueyroux also deals with a bored, unhappy woman in the back province, but this one attempts to poison her husband with arsenic. See more »
Martin believes that his next neighbor is Russian, but she's really from Rouen. When he meets Madame Mercier he's so surprised by her fluent French that he asks where she learned it. "At school like everyone else" she misleadingly replies, when in fact she would've learned her native tongue as a small child from her parents. See more »
'Gemma Bovery' is a clever re-working of 'Madame Bovary', Flaubert's 19th century literary masterpiece about the amorous adventures of a provincial doctor's wife. This contemporary version begins with a bookish baker observing the arrival of a London couple in his Normandy town. He immediately becomes obsessed with the lovely Gemma, and starts seeing parallels to his favorite novel after he catches sight of her flirting with an aristocratic law student outside his shop. When the doughy merchant deduces the affairs of 'la belle Anglaise' are spiraling towards disaster, he attempts to save her from the sad fate of the fictional heroine, but his interference only increases the complications of her love life.
Director Anne Fontaine's film is nicely balanced between comedy and drama, tending towards the latter, although the end product is closer to a fluffy confection than a heavyweight main course. Gemma Arterton's piquant performance in the lead role holds the film together, as her straying spouse remains a sympathetic character despite the infidelities. Their work is complemented by the entire cast - especially Fabrice Luchini who turns in a satisfyingly starchy portrayal of the busybody bread-maker - along with some luscious cinematography of the fertile French countryside and the mouth-watering Ms Arterton.
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