Gemma Bovery (2014) Poster

(2014)

User Reviews

Review this title
18 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
7/10
Crusty baguette meets a tempting tart
tigerfish5021 June 2015
'Gemma Bovery' is a clever re-working of 'Madame Bovary', Flaubert's 19th century literary masterpiece about the amorous adventures of a provincial doctor's wife. This contemporary version begins with a bookish baker observing the arrival of a London couple in his Normandy town. He immediately becomes obsessed with the lovely Gemma, and starts seeing parallels to his favorite novel after he catches sight of her flirting with an aristocratic law student outside his shop. When the doughy merchant deduces the affairs of 'la 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 nicely balanced between comedy and drama, tending towards the latter, although the end product is closer to a fluffy confection than a heavyweight main course. Gemma Arterton's piquant performance in the lead role holds the film together, as her straying spouse remains a sympathetic character despite the infidelities. Their work is complemented by the entire cast - especially Fabrice Luchini who turns in a satisfyingly starchy portrayal of the busybody bread-maker - along with some luscious cinematography of the fertile French countryside and the mouth-watering Ms Arterton.
20 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Gemma Bovery
JohnnyWeissmuller25 October 2015
Gemma Bovery is a movie based on Flaubert's Madame Bovary, but modernised and very meta as Gemma Bovery seems, according to the narrator, bound to follow the same path as the novel's central character. Starring Gemma Arterton as Gemma Bovery, it's easy to see why her neighbour, the village baker and the film's narrator, becomes completely besotted with her. She's radiant and effortlessly sexy from the moment we first encounter Gemma and her husband, played by Jason Flemyng, as they arrive at their new home in a small Normandy village. Soon, she is well acquainted by the locals, especially her neighbour, as played by Fabrice Luchini, who can't seem to think about much else other than this beautiful girl who seems to have come straight out of the pages of his favourite novel. With less assured direction and an actor without the affable qualities of Luchini, his gazes upon Gemma and longing monologues may seem quite creepy, but this is a romantic who acts more than ably as an audience surrogate for the events in this small hamlet. Gemma, like the Madame Bovary of the novel, succumbs to temptation and enters into an affair with a young man studying at his parents' house nearby, which causes much concern for her neighbour, who sees parallels between her and her fictional namesake. Which may not make for high drama, but I found this movie incredibly charming and easy to fall for, much like the gorgeous and talented Arterton who, in one particular scene, does for kneading bread what Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore done for pottery in Ghost. Arterton also plays her character just right, because this isn't a woman scorned or downtrodden. She knows her own mind and has depths that are slowly revealed. In the wrong hands she may have been quite unlikable, but here, despite her mistakes, she's always endearing. As is the bucolic plenty of the Parisian countryside. It's only in the movie's final moments that it plays a sour note that seems unnecessary, whilst an obscure ending shifts the tone just too far. But this is a bit of a treat and a genuine surprise.
11 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Madame Returns
YohjiArmstrong7 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
GEMMA BOVERY is essentially a paean to the hotness of Gemma Arteton and to classic French literature. The plot sees the ordered village life of a former publisher, who semi-retired to became a baker in Normandy due to his love of Flaubert's "Madame Bovery" which is set there, turned upside down by the arrival of an English couple. She is beautiful and bored and her surname is Bovery. Soon her life begins to mirror the novel, as she seeks out affairs to deal with her ennui. Worried by this - because he knows the book ends with her suicide - the baker/publisher begins to try and discreetly guide her, with mixed results. Only the French could make something as insubstantial as this - and then make it work. Although billed as a comedy-drama, it's neither very funny nor entirely dramatically successful, but it sustains itself with a low- key middle class charm. Village life is gorgeously portrayed and most importantly the film succeeds in making you care about what is essentially a silly woman making bad decisions; like many French films it's all about the gloriousness of women, which Arteton more than lives up to. A small charmer.
14 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
One is bored the other revived!
mmunier18 June 2015
I had one of the best time at this movie I had for a long time; so pleased after all these years I can handle both languages (unfortunately not audibly) Just the same I enjoyed so much to delve again in the 100 years war between these 2 culturally contrasting countries. But sexy Gemma was certainly a gem! As Luchini who then "said goodbye to his sexual tranquility" embarked in a wonderful human mission. Some one here said "neither very funny, nor dramatically successful" Who cares...certainly not me! If beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, humour is also in the mind of the beholder. If I was a "rater" I my score would be higher than the average. There are many ways to embrace a movie, intellectually, emotionally, nitpicking ly. Once more...it was good for me!
14 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Flaubert revisited
dbdumonteil16 February 2016
Like Chabrol,who reportedly "made the movie Flaubert would" ,it was filmed on location in the green landscapes of Normandie and even in the cathedral of Rouen .Like my good friend Writers Reign aka Leon points out in his insightful review,women directors make more and more their presence felt in the French cinema;to think that in the early fifties,there was only ONE female artist frequently making movies ;no it was not Agnès Varda,it was Jacqueline Audry ,Ida Lupino's contemporary colleague.Unlike her male colleagues,Mrs Fontaine did not do the umpteenth version of the famous novel;nor did she try to transpose the action to our times as Vadim and others did (with mediocre results) with Choderlos De Laclos's "Les Liaisons Dangereuses".

Anne Fontaine's take on "Madame Bovary" is a very palatable work ,as delectable as Lucchini's bread ;however to be fully appreciated ,it 's better to read the novel first.The movie anyways begins with Lucchini's voice-over ,reading the episode of the ball,the turning point of the novel.

When you like a book ,you often think of your own movie ,and sometimes,its adaptations,be they made by Renoir or Minnelli may,in several respects,disappoint you.That's Anne Fontaine's master stroke:what we dream of,Fabrice Lucchini ,ex-"Bobo" ("Bourgeois Boheme") makes it come true:he begins to "direct " his "Bovary",before being overtaken by events ("that was the end of my sexual peace" ).

Today in Normandy ,people go to the villages of Tôtes and Yerville (the movie was actually shot in Lyons La Forêt) just to see the place where SHE lived ,just like people visit Juliet's house in Verona .In spite of the names ,the real life characters are very distant relatives of those of Flaubert:the Young student is not really Rodolphe Boulanger who was a mature selfish buck (best Rodolphe: Louis Jourdan in Minnelli's version) ;just as Charles Bovery is not the lump country doctor.But why is the hero a baker by the way? a nod to Rodolphe Boulanger (=baker)?or because it introduces an "erotic" way to knead dough?Or perhaps because of the French expression "Pour Une Bouchée De Pain" (= for next to nothing)which makes sense,considering the outcome.

Lucchini's baker is still twenty in his head and as time is passing him by,attempts to mythologize a banal love affair through the creation of a story-like world of bygone days ;he's ready for another one when the movie ends .

Anne Fontaine has made one of the most interesting French movies of 2014;Fabrice Lucchini,cast against type,is perhaps not very credible as a baker ,but he sure is as an intellectual dreamer;Mrs Gemma Aterton is a feast for the eyes ;Jason Fleming and Niels Schneider give restrained but effective performances;Isabelle Candelier is to be praised for making the best of an unrewarding part;it's pleasant to see again Edith Scob (Georges Franju's "Les Yeux Sans Visage") in the part of a bourgeois whose only reason to live seems to be a statuette.On the other hand,Elsa Zylberstein is intrusive ,exasperating,the typical smug actress.

It's a mouthwatering effort (in every sense of the word).Never since "Babette's feast" ,did I savor such a display of good food.
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Madame Bovery or Gemma Bovary ?
searchanddestroy-123 September 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Another astounding comedy drama from France. Fabrice Luchini at his very best. His peak. I nevertheless don't like this actor, he annoys me at a scale you can't even imagine. His manners, his way of speaking is unbearable to me, but I repeat, he is a great actor. In this film, at last, I like him much. But what I just said is my own private opinion. This feature is totally awesome for the acting and screen writing.

This movie hesitates between drama and comedy too. A pure delightful moment.

Exquisite.

You won't waste your time in this film.
24 out of 49 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Occasionally flawed, but Luchini shines
Horst_In_Translation17 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Let me start this review by saying that I am not remotely familiar with the literature character referenced here many time, so I will just stick with the movie and not relate to the book. It is certainly possible to watch and enjoy this movie that way as well, especially as Luchini's character gives all the information to the viewer that one needs to know to see why he draws that parallel between his new neighbor and the literary character.

All in all, I think this is an okay movie, which gets considerably better in the second half. The first half just feel like a cheesy chick flick to be honest with the usual stuff. The main character's dog runs to the new neighbor's dog and that is how they get involved with each other, and the absolute negative highlight of the film: a scene in which Arterton's character gets stung by a bee and Luchini's character needs to open her shirt and suck the poison out of the wound. Other than that the film is all about Luchini. If you know him, he is one of France's most gifted actors these days and easily makes the film. Especially the darker sides of his character are portrayed very well. Gemma Arterton is a good choice for the role and surely fits 100% looks-wise. Unfortunately, though, her character was written with really not much depth. She is just beautiful to look at and always the center of attention of every male character in this film, including Jason Flemyng who gave a good portrayal here, probably the best from all of Gemma's partners. The other two were rather forgettable, especially Patrick who the film could have done completely without.

The ending was a bit controversial. I am not sure if I liked that Arterton's character did in fact die just like in the novel, but the fact that it came from the bread made it interesting, just like the fireworks as a huge contrast to her death. The death itself, however, had almost no emotional gravity to me to be honest and that is probably quite a failure. Why did the filmmakers not succeed in making this more impactful? Actually the three men walking next to each other at the funeral afterward, was almost more significant. Another thing I found strange was how the son of Luchini's character trolls his father about the new neighbors near the end. Never during the film I had the impression that neither the son nor the wife were really getting what is going on with Luchini's character, so this felt a bit out of place. The dialog with the new neighbors at the end was awkwardly funny though.

Finally, let me say that I would only really recommend this for fans of Gemma Arterton or French cinema. Director Anne Fontaine is known for strong female characters in the center of her movies ("Coco avant Chanel", "Chloe", "Nathalie"), but here I am not so sure about it. I certainly preferred her previous film "Adore".
18 out of 40 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
A sexy update of Mme. Bovary with a mouth-watering Emma-Gemma
barev-8509416 October 2015
REVIEW OF "GEMMA BOVERY" By Alex Deleon: Viewed at Hollywood Press screening, May 21, 2015.

Martin Joubert, a semi-retired ex-Parisian literary Intellectual with a tremendous passion for the works of famous French novelist Gustave Flaubert, now runs a gourmet bakery in Normandy in the very village where Flaubert wrote his masterpiece Madame Bovary. During the summer an English couple takes up residence in a small farm nearby. Not only are the names of the new arrivals --Gemma and Charles Bovery -- almost identical to the characters in the book, but their everyday life seems to be following Flaubert's story uncannily, step by step, as Martin stalks Gemma's amorous trail about town more or less discretely, hoping to maybe have a little fling with her himself -- His wife, of course, taking a dim view of his excessive interest in this young beautiful bouncy English broad. Life in a spooky imitation of art? --or what! ~ In the novel the heroine ends up poisoned and dies an excruciating death, so where can all this lead...? -- Director Anne Fontaine, (born 1959 in Luxemburg) is an actress and writer who typically works on female centric pictures such as Audry Tautou starrer "Coco Before Chanel", 2009, but here she really hits her stride.

Gemma Arterton (as the tantalizing reincarnation of Emma Bovary) is built along the lines of fellow English lady Jacqueline Bissett at her most buxom (The Deep, 1977), has much of the same charm, and was a real discovery. Fabrice Luchini, one of France's best alĺ around actors, was a taunting pleasure to watch every step of the way as Joubert, the local master baker and Bovary expert, who is enthralled by the very sexy much younger new neighbor from England. He is actually as much the leering center of the picture as sexpot Gemma, but familiarity with the original novel by Flaubert is more or less assumed. Without a fairly good knowledge of French much of the humor contained in the witty dialogue will be lost on American auds. I found myself to be the only member of the full house evening audience chuckling at many points in the picture.

Nevertheless, the story itself is gripping, the cinematography gorgeous, and the erotic scenes strapping enough to make this work for higher I.Q. American audiences. I thought the ending was a little forced -- like the tacked on resolution at the end of a whodunnit murder mystery --but who cares when the rest of the picture was so delectable. The fragrance of the breads in the frequent boulangerie scenes were so appetising as to make anyone who has ever been to Paris (or Rouen!) want to get back there ASAP. Overall, a delightful way to spend an evening away from France. Alex, The morning after, still somewhat in cinematic thrall ...
5 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Relationships
westsideschl20 October 2015
Negative: Forced to sit through five trailer adverts for other movies. Positives: Note the spelling difference in the name. Lots of British type humor bordering between a little shocking and funny. So what happens when a British couple end up living in the France of Flaubert and by coincidence they share many of the same attributes as well as a similarity in name to that famous novel? Add a next-door baker as a storyteller who is also infatuated with the mystique of women from those period novels. "Gemma Bovery" offers a contemporary interpretation that I found more interesting than other recent adaptations of the story especially with regards to manipulating men. "Wants everything from love and is always disappointed." When life doesn't match her fantasy one wonders if she would have changed or would she have eventually recidivated? Great endings as her men lead to her humorously ironic downfall and finally the introduction of a famously storied Russian woman.

Surprising song (an odd fit) shows up in the movie and in the credits - "Jimmy" with no identifiable credit. Anyway, from a mongrel American/European blues/folk/rock team, "Moriarty".
4 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Rises nicely
begob17 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
No idea how close this sticks to the novel, but it's clever and charming.

Takes a while to settle down - yes, Thatcherism is a crude divider - but once the narrator assumes the director's role it gets interesting. He's played well, and the lead actress is jolie.

The other characters aren't really bedded down, especially the husband and the former husband, so that seems superficial. But the plot winds along merrily and overall it's amusing. Music and sound are very good too.

Problem for me is the climax, which is just daft. But it's followed by a funny epilogue.

ps. An example of bi-lingual production. I saw a Taiwan film recently that does it better - draws you in so you don't notice you're reading subtitles. But that was an action film with minimal dialogue.
7 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Memorable Comic Characters
MelbaMan15 May 2018
Ah, the English-French culture clash! Loved the sad-faced neighbour and his forever critical wife. And their dog Gus. And then the local Englishman who loves France for its cheese and wine (only?). And his gushy French wife. And the local Adonis' mother. These are all truly memorable comic characters. They are more interesting than the central couple, the Boverys. They make it well worth watching. The odd well-chosen Anglo-Saxon word or phrase (sometimes in French!) puts everyone in their place, including poor Gus! Nice soundtrack too.
2 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Gemma Arterton enchanting
SnoopyStyle10 March 2016
Gemma Bovery (Gemma Arterton) and her older husband Charlie move from London to a small town in Normandy, France. Their new neighbor Martin Joubert (Fabrice Luchini) is the baker and a fan of Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary. Martin is immediately enchanted by the lovely Gemma and her literary name. She gets restless and has an affair with a young man named Hervé de Bressigny. She is surprised by the return of her cheating former lover Patrick.

Gemma Arterton enchants this movie. She is the heart of this. Fabrice Luchini is compelling as an obsessive fan without being too creepy. I am not as enchanted with the ending. It is trying to be poetic but it feels too manufactured. I was looking for the rat poison but I would love any number of ways to go. It needs to be more substantive. It needs to be Gemma's action. I was looking for Gemma to raise the stakes with her relationships. The ending is not the greatest but the movie will always have Gemma.
2 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
For all Francophiles !!
Loved it. Gemma Arterton is irresistible and exudes sexuality - her acting wasn't bad either. Beautifully filmed and very loosely based on the book but the scenery and portrayal of country life in France did it for me. Good opportunity to brush up your French too.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
Quite boring until the twist at the end! 4/10
leonblackwood17 April 2016
Review: I must admit, if I knew that this movie was full of subtitles, I wouldn't have bothered with it but once it gets going, I really didn't know what direction the storyline was going to take. At first, it's a simple concept, about a loving couple, Gemma Bovery (Gemma Arterton) and Charlie Bovery (Jason Flemyng), who move to France and become friends with the local bread maker and his wife, Martin Joubert (Fabrice Luchini) and Valerie (Isabelle Candelier), who live in the same community as the loving couple. Martin takes a bit of a shine to the flirtatious Gemma, which he keeps to himself but when she starts an affair a young boy who is studying for his exams, Herve De Bressigny (Niels Schneider), her relationship with Charlie takes a turn for the worse. Martin is a lover of the writer Gustave Flaubert, and he can see Gemma's life is taking the same direction as Gustave's book, "Gemma Bovery", which just happens to be the same name as there new neighbours, so he tries to divert her from her downfall. After planning to leave her husband with her new boyfriend, Gemma's life takes a turn for the worse when Herve is false to leave the village, by his mother. The strain also becomes to much for Charlie, who decides to leave his wife for a while, and when an old flame turns up at Gemma's doorstep, Patrick (Mel Raido), a dramatic chain of events lead to a dramatic ending, which is worth watching. I really wasn't expecting the storyline to turn out the way it did but the rest of the movie was a bit slow. I liked the fact that the quiet Martin, who was completely in the background throughout the movie, knew exactly what was going to happen but apart from that, it really didn't pick up until the end. Gemma Arterton seems to act the same in all of her movies, but she was suited for this role. It did surprise me how easily she started an affair with the local boy, without feeling guilty towards her husband but that was the mysterious thing about there life's taking the same direction as the books. Anyway, it's not the type of movie that I would usually watch, so I didn't have high expectations but I did enjoy the ending after reading subtitles for an hour and a half. Average!

Round-Up: For a girl who came into the movie world in 2007 in St. Trinians, Gemma Arterton, 30, has starred in some big movies, like RocknRolla, Quantum of Solace, Prince of Persia, Clash of the Titans, Runner Runner and Hansel & Gretel, so her 8 year career has been pretty impressive to date. Her French accent in this movie was believable along with her flirtatious ways, which ended up getting her in trouble but she has to be careful that she doesn't become a victim of typecasting. Anyway, this movie was written and directed by Anne Fontaine, 56, who has primarily directed movies for a French market, so I haven't really heard of them. I liked the twist in this movie but it came a bit too late for my liking. 

Budget: €9.7million Worldwide Gross: £4.7million

I recommend this movie to people who are into their drama/romance/comedies starring Gemma Arterton, Jason Flemyng, Fabrice Luchini, Isabelle Candelier and Mel Raido. 4/10
3 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Going With The Flau(bert)
writers_reign22 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
One of the joys of my cinema-going life is the growing number of female directors (many of them actors, almost all writers) in French cinema. Whilst some - Marian Vernoux, Agnes Jaoui, Nicole Garcia, Danielle Thompson, Valerie Lemercier, etc, have yet to notch up a dozen titles, others such as Tonie Marshall and Anne Fontaine have long surpassed this and there is a temptation to say that Fontaine especially is perhaps a tad too prolific. This take on Flaubert is her fifteenth At Bat (a sixteenth is in Post Production even as we speak) and there are those who claim to detect signs of fatigue. With actors of the calibre of Isabelle Calendier on display merely in support I'm not prepared to write this one off. Like Louis Jouvet Fabrice Luchini is primarily a man of the theatre but like Jouvet he is such a consummate actor that he enhances any film he agrees to appear in merely by signing the contract and so it is here. More than worth a look.
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
It's another French film
NukeHollywood22 January 2020
Beautiful people, glorification of adultery, baking, baguettes and food, a few humping scenes, and artsy fartsy nothingness come together. You've seen this hundred's of times.
0 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Very good but
LogicIsEverything13 September 2019
There's something not quite right in this movie. It's so disgusting to see Gemma took the bread one by one with her hands and smelled them to her nose, then put it down picked another and did the same ritual absolutely not sanitized behavior again and again. I know such arranged gestures were to give the impression to the audiences how good those baked French pastries were, but those breads were not protected with plastic wrappers, handling with bare hands and took them up close to your nose....smelled them one by one....Jesus, didn't these people know what "Cross Contamination" means?

By the way, the popular "Earth is a Global Village" saying is quite explained in this movie too; so many British people moved to France if they have money. Likewise, so many rich Chinese migrated to Vancouver, Canada or Irvine, southern California. I have no problem with these RICH people migrating to other countries they considered better than their countries of origin, as long as they always follow "DO AS THE ROMANS DO" principle, always keep your motherlands' cultures, religions and (bad)habits in your new foreign residences, don't bring or carry them outside or, even worse: Asking your newly migrated cities or even the countries to change the laws to accommodate yours.

Anyway, this movie is pretty good in a very slow pace. The ending is also well crafted.
0 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Gemma Arterton.
anaconda-4065810 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Gemma Bovery (2014): Dir: Anne Fontaine / Cast: Gemma Arterton, Fabrice Luchini, Jason Flemyng, Niels Schneider, Mel Raido: Amusing French comedy that takes the classic Gustave Flaubert novel to new heights as observed by the central character, a baker in a small village, played with bewilderment by Fabrice Luchini. His wife is a nag and his son proves to be less than perfect, his attentions spans the farm across the street where a British couple move in. His sights are on the beautiful Gemma Arterton who nearly embodies the creation in the novel. Her husband is much older and frustrated with their lack of communication. Luchini is smitten and nears his infatuation until other suitors appear. Flawed by humour that doesn't always work, and a death scene in the third act that lacks the emotional payoff it needed. Otherwise director Anne Fontaine details a screenplay that balances reality and fantasy effectively. Luchini centres the plot focused on this new neighbour while narrowly working in baking bread and family. Arterton is stunning as Gemma and the camera fixates on her placing viewers in the lustful position of Luchini. Jason Flemyng plays the frustrated husband who doesn't take the news well when she has an affair. Niels Schneider plays a young suitor who steals Luchini's moment when he aids her when she is stung by a bee. They have a passionate affair where Luchini observes from afar in awe. Mel Raido plays an ex-boyfriend arriving back in town in hopes to rekindle their past relationship. Theme mixes literature with reality with a touch of the absurd for good measure. Score: 8 / 10
0 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed