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Madame Bovary (1991)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance | 25 December 1991 (USA)
In nineteenth-century France, the romantic daughter of a country squire (Emma Rouault) marries a dull country doctor (Charles Bovary). To escape boredom, she throws herself into love ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Christiane Minazzoli ...
La veuve Lefançois
Jean-Louis Maury ...
Florent Gibassier ...
Jean-Claude Bouillaud ...
Le père Rouault - un paysan - le père d'Emma
Sabeline Campo ...
Felicité
Yves Verhoeven ...
Marie Mergey ...
La mère Bovary - la mère de Charles
François Maistre ...
...
Le vicomte
Phillippe Abitol
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Storyline

In nineteenth-century France, the romantic daughter of a country squire (Emma Rouault) marries a dull country doctor (Charles Bovary). To escape boredom, she throws herself into love affairs with a suave local landowner (Rodolphe Boulanger) and a law student (Leon Dupuis), and runs up ruinous debts. This film version closely follows Flaubert's novel and includes most of the famous scenes, such as the wedding, the ball, the agricultural fair, the operation on the clubfoot, and the opera in Rouen. Written by English Showalter <showalte@crab.rutgers.edu>

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Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Release Date:

25 December 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Мадам Бовари  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$1,942,424 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In its original French version, one of the masculine voices overheard by Emma during the great Bail sequence is director Claude Chabrol's voice saying: "Mais qu'il en soit fait selon votre desir, ma chere... Lucien!". See more »

Goofs

During the ball, the music is "The Blue Danube" by Johan Strauss, composed in 1866. However, the action is taking place in 1837. See more »

Quotes

Le docteur Charles Bovary: [after his wife's death] Fate's the one to blame!
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Connections

Version of Madame Bovary (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

Alexander Quadrille, op 33
Music by Johann Strauss (as J. Strauss)
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User Reviews

 
the film Flaubert would have made from his novel
15 April 2007 | by See all my reviews

This was Claude Chabrol's intention and it's easier to say than to do. Gustave Flaubert's novel was so rich, undulating that any adaptation in images can only be reducing and simplistic. More than the tragic story of its heroine, Flaubert's novel encompassed a word picture of Normandy (the bulk of the film was shot in the village of Lyons-La-Forêt near Rouen) and a cruel, cynical vision of the world. If the first feature is satisfying on the screen, the second one is hardly perceptible. Hence, this crucial question: is it possible to fully recreate Flaubert's novel? Chabrol's film is faithful to the main plot with the rise and fall of her heroine sometimes told by François Périer's voice-over in spite of accelerated views on certain vital episodes, notably the peasant marriage that disgusted Emma Bovary. On the other hand, the crest of the novel (the ball to the marquis) found a perfect equivalent in Chabrol's film with this shot which goes through the turning dresses creating thus a whirlpool. The glittering life Emma dreams of instead of a dull one with her mediocre husband Charles.

Chabrol is buoyed by topnotch interpretations. Even if Isabelle Huppert is a convincing Emma Bovary, a woman whose messy dreams and follies badly conceal boredom and disgust of her condition, the other main actors steal the show with Jean-François Balmer as the perfect, narrow-minded Charles Bovary, Christophe Malavoy as unfaithful Rodolphe Boulanger and Jean Yanne as the unscrupulous chemist Homais.

"Madame Bovary" is aesthetically a refined work with lush scenery and lavish costumes that recreate rural life in Normandy in the middle of the nineteenth Century. But Chabrol doesn't break new ground with this adaptation that required something else than an elegant directing, a brilliant cast and splendid scenery. That's why his rendering of Flaubert's work is just an honorable reading of the novel in the end. One could also add that Flaubert's book was a solid opportunity for an onslaught at provincial lower middle class. But it's only skimmed over and it's a wasted bonanza.

Chabrol's reading of "Madame Bovary" amounts to the same result as Claude Berri's adaptation of Emile Zola's epic novel "Germinal" in 1993: honorable instead of being unforgettable, a commendable action instead of a ground-breaking creation. The author of "le Boucher" (1970) was rather on the wrong track but fortunately, he'll find his way again the following year with another woman depiction: "Betty" (1992). Georges Simenon's universe suits him much better than Flaubert's one.


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