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Lou de Laâge,
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 »
'Gemma Bovery' is a clever contemporary re-working of 'Madame Bovary', Flaubert's 19th century literary masterpiece about the love affairs of a provincial doctor's wife. This version begins with a bookish baker observing the arrival of a London couple in his Normandy town. He immediately becomes obsessed with the charming Gemma, and starts seeing parallels to his favorite novel as he catches sight of her flirting with an aristocratic law student outside his shop. When the doughy merchant suspects the affairs of the '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 finely balanced between comedy and drama, tending towards the latter, although the end product is closer to a fluffy confection than heavyweight fare. Gemma Arterton's piquant performance in the lead role holds the film together, as her straying spouse remains a sympathetic character despite the infidelities. Fabrice Luchini also turns in a satisfying portrayal of the busybody bread-maker, and their work is complemented by the entire cast, along with some luscious cinematography of the exquisite French countryside and the mouth-watering Ms Arterton.
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