A young woman in her late teens, a reader of novels and with high hopes of romance and passion, marries a widowed country doctor. Although he dotes on her, she is soon bored and discontent.... See full summary »
A young woman in her late teens, a reader of novels and with high hopes of romance and passion, marries a widowed country doctor. Although he dotes on her, she is soon bored and discontent. First, she gives her imagination to a law student in town, and next she takes a lover. When he refuses to run away with her, she takes up again with the law clerk. Her spending on dresses and furnishings mounts; these debts and her ill-advised professional counsel to her husband bring his ruin. Written by
I've got to admit that Madame Bovary isn't my one of my favorite literary works, but I've watched several adaptations nonetheless. This was a fairly intelligent attempt at adaptation, with a pretty good script, but it was ruined for me by some casting misjudgments and a misguided decision to use nudity and explicit sex.
It takes some doing to make a woman as misguided and blinkered as Emma Bovary truly sympathetic (one of my major problems with the book), and though Frances O'Connor is a good actress, she often comes across seeming merely like a spoiled brat. She seems even more so because the decision was made to have her speak out loud so many things that Emma only thinks in the book. But I think the negative impression I got of this Emma is less due to her, perhaps, then to the other cast. I think it was a major mistake to cast somebody so obviously manly and sympathetic in the role of her husband as Hugh Bonneville (in the book Charles was really a dork) and such lightweights as Greg Wise (who looks stupefied most of the time) and -- well, I've forgotten what is name was -- as Leon. You definitely have to question her preference from them over Charles.
The various explicit nude sex scenes really add nothing, and often lead us in the wrong direction. Is it merely a difference in sexual technique that makes Emma unsatisified by her husband, but satisfied by Rodolphe? You can look at these scenes for hours and never find out. By the way, what is this about Emma apparently liking rough sex (her first time with Rodolphe, when he makes her bleed). Where was THAT in the book??! But most of all it was a mistake, I think, because Emma focuses as much on romance as on sex, and these scenes completely miss that.
I was mainly disappointed in this try at the book. Beautifully photographed, though.
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