Gemma Arterton leads this French-English romance, from the director of Coco avant Chanel. Co-stars Fabrice Luchini (In the House) as a Paris baker and family man, who takes a very keen interest in his new next door neighbour Gemma (Arterton), a passionate young Englishwoman. Adapted from the graphic novel by Posy Simmonds (who made the graphic novel that led to 2010’s Tamara Drewe, also starring Arterton).... More
"Gustave Flaubert's novel of romantic yearning, Madame Bovary, is the inspiration for another imaginative recasting of a timeless masterpiece... Gemma Bovery embraces the melancholy of Flaubert's great book whilst placing it against the bucolic wonders of the verdant Norman landscape. Fontaine's film naturally orbits around its young, married protagonist (Arterton) — in this telling an Englishwoman named Gemma who moves into a small French village with her husband (Jason Flemyng). Also at its centre is Martin Joubert (Fabrice Luchini), a baker who has only recently fled Paris, along with his long-suffering wife, in search of stability and equilibrium. Martin rapidly takes a proprietary interest in the English beauty and falls under the spell of her charm. Gemma's passionate nature is ill-served by her husband, and it's not long before her eye starts to wander." (Toronto Film Festival)Hide
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BY Liam Maguren Flicks Writer
Last time I saw the superb Fabrice Luchini, he was obsessing over a gifted teen with a talent for literature in François Ozon’s In the House. His role isn’t much different in Anna Fontaine’s film, playing a married-and-bored baker obsessing over his gorgeous new neighbour Gemma Bovery (Gemma Arterton) whose life unfolds eerily similar to that of his beloved novel – Madame Bovary. But while his character in Luchini’s film powered his co-lead’s narrative, Fontaine turns him into a mild obstruction in Gemma’s story. It makes Gemma Bovery a frustrating experience in hindsight.... More
The film gets off on the right foot, with Luchini hitting every comedic touch and Arterton playing into the angelic simpleton role that fuels his fantasies. But when she starts entering the forewarned romantic entanglement, his role doesn’t hold much strength beyond ‘audience avatar’, with noticeable weaknesses creeping up. The most obvious drawback comes with the mention of Gemma’s previous relationship, a flashback too brief to feel significant only to become a major factor in the third act.
Gemma Bovery relies on you to buy its ending, but when the story already hinges on too many coincidences to ignore, the film doesn’t sell the conclusion beyond what it is: an annoying contrivance. Die-hard fans of Gustave Flaubert’s novel might find enough amusement in this quirky take to warrant a watch, but for anyone craving a complex story of love and passion, you’re better off holding out for Sophie Barthes’ Madame Bovary.Hide