Writer: Pascall Bonitzer, Anne Fontaine (Screenplay) Posy Simmonds (Novel)
Starring: Fabrice Luchini, Gemma Arterton, Jason Flemyng, Isabelle Candelier, Niels Schneider, Mel Raido
Plot: 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.
Tagline – Can life really imitate art?
Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Simple Romance Film
Story: Gemma Bovery starts when small village baker Martin Joubert (Luchini) learns about his new English neighbours, Gemma (Arterton) and Charlie Bovery (Flemyng), who just so happen to share the names of his favourite novel characters Madame Bovery, Martin starts to see the similarities with the neighbours and the characters as he spends time watching Gemma.
Gemma ends starting to have an affair with the local French man, one that Martin sees happening and wants to figure out how to stop her making what he sees as a mistake, just like the characters in his favourite novels.
Thoughts on Gemma Bovery
Characters – Martin is the village baker, he is a huge fan of Flaubert’s novels with Madame Bovery being his favourite, he has been living his normal life until his new neighbours spark an interest in his life because of their names, he spends his time following Gemma around trying to make sure she doesn’t make the same mistakes that the character in the books once made, making bets with his dog along the way. Gemma Bovery is the English neighbour that has just moved to France with her husband, she has started to become bored of that relationship getting involved in an affair, one that Martin witnesses, seeing the end of her relationship. Charlie is the husband that has always supported Gemma only to see the distance building between the two. Valerie is the wife of Martin, who sees her husband get into the mindset of trying to help because of his obsession with books.
Performances – Fabrice Luchini is entertaining to watch through the film as he is often talking to himself. Gemma Arterton is a great choice for this role, she gets to thieve through the role too. The rest of the cast do struggle to make an impact in the story on the levels you would imagine, which disappoints.
Story – The story follows a French man that believes his neighbour Gemma is following the footsteps of Madame Bovery and starts to get worried about her decisions, when she starts having an affair. This story does follow the ideas of how a person can become obsessed with life imitating art and just how dangerous trying to stop art going can be, it shows how easily affair can happen with people who do seem to be happy, in the end the story doesn’t really engage on the levels it wants to and soon becomes one that you could easily forget.
Comedy/Romance – The comedy comes mostly from the sneaking around that Martin does, it gets laughs in places which will be fun, the romance shows how easily love can come and go from the people in your life.
Settings – The film is set in a small French village which makes for a beautiful backdrop to everything going on in the film.
Final Thoughts – This is a romance film that shows how obsession can take over life whether it be to see how people see somebody’s else life or their own.
Overall: Romance with a novel.