“Gemma Bovery”

Watched “Gemma Bovery” with some friends on a Friday evening couple of weeks ago. I have not read the actual book on which the movie is supposedly based but absolutely loved the original inspiration – Gustave Flaubert’s French classic “Madame Bovary” when I first read it almost 12 years ago.

While the original novel can be quite dark and depressing at times, the film had a nice summery feel to it. The small french town looked beautiful and the patisserie/bakery was quite charming.

Even though the film did not explore the cause of Emma’a misery and desperation in any detail, it was still an interesting watch. It also made me want to spend time in rural France. Some day, I hope!!

What I did like about the film particularly was the end where the men in her life seemed to have a physical role in her death. It was a good way of staying true to the spirit of the original where though Emma is shown to commit suicide, it is the men in her life who drive her to despair, limiting her ability to lead the life she craved, using and abusing her for their own gain and in the end causing her to take her own life.

The leading French actor in the film who played the narrator/baker did a fantastic job. With very little dialogue he conveyed so much through his face and eyes. It was his superb acting that added moments of light relief to the film.

I suppose the main difference is that in today’s liberal and tolerant society one cannot feel sorry for Gemma the way one felt sorry for Emma who had little hope or avenues for escape.

I never thought I would say this for a cheesier modern version of a superb old classic but the movie has now made me want to read the book! If for no other reason then to compare and contrast the two.

Now only need to see if my local library thinks it worthwhile to hold a copy of “Gemma Bovery” in stock 🙂


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