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Georges Duroy is a penniless soldier returning from war. He travels to Paris in a search for ways to improve his social and financial status. He uses his wit and powers of seduction to charm wealthy women. Written by
With these words Charles Forestier opens a new world for his former friend and ex-soldier Georges Duroy. A world where a poor, working man can only dream of. A world where the high society has its own rules, where sex is power, where power leads to connections, where connections lead to the top and where the top is dominated by corruption and intrigues.
It's the world of Belle Epoque Paris at the end of the 19th century, with its carriages and boudoirs,its beautiful salons and ladies in stunning dresses.
Georges Duroy, a poor, handsome man with no special talents but with the strong ambition to become rich and important, takes the invitation of his wealthy friend and puts his first steps on the social ladder. Uncertain and awkward in the beginning, looking how to behave in this elitist company he learns fast, conquers the hearts of the wives of influential men (by sleeping with them) to break them shamelessly when a better opportunity shows up.
Bel ami, film adaptation of the famous classic novel by Guy de Maupassant, is an adult tale of the rise of Georges Duroy to the top but also of the dubious and corrupt relationships between politicians and journalists. These themes are still actual and recognizable, which makes the movie very accessible. The film makers did a big effort in creating a wonderful setting as authentic as possible. Also the costumes are a joy to watch.
The performances were very well done IMO.
Though Robert Pattinson was only 23 when he took this role he held his own against experienced actresses as Uma Thurman, Christina Ricci and Kristin Scott Thomas who brought respectively the intelligent Madeleine, the frivolous Clotilde and the devote Virginie convincingly to life. Because of his strong screen presence and the way he showed Georges' evolution from a beginning casanova to the cad he became, Rob nailed the character and showed that he can have a bright future as an actor.
Bel ami, though it has dark themes, is entertaining and has more than once funny moments apart from several steamy sex scenes. It depends of each one's perception of the movie but I can't help but being amused by Georges'conquests or is it Robert Pattinson who has succeeded to make an unlikeable character likable?
If you love period movies, it's a must see. If you don't love them, you may do after Bel ami.
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