Available on Bluray Aug. 4 from director Sophie Barthes and Alchemy comes the beloved classic story of Madame Bovary.
This film tells the story of Emma (Mia Wasikowska), a young woman who has spent much of her young life away from society. Her time has come to marry Charles Bovary (Henry Lloyd-Hughes), a town’s doctor who lives a simple and humble life. She quickly becomes bored with a life in which she thought would have so much more.
At first unsure of herself and the new station as the woman of the home, Emma meets Monsieur Lherureux (Rhys Ifans). A marketer of the fineries in linens and cloth, he vaguely explains the concept of buying on credit. Taken with the idea, Emma changes her drab clothes into beautiful dresses.
She also meets Monsieur Homais (Paul Giamatti), who says the young couple should attend the hunt given by The Marquis (Logan Marshall-Green). Emma is quite taken by their handsome, mysterious neighbor and equally taken with Leon Dupuis (Ezra Miller). Now that a different life has shown itself, other things begin to change as well.
Emma transforms everything about her husband’s home — giving it a look of elegance and refinement that truthfully exceeds her husband’s income. Slowly everything begins to go wrong as Lheureux begins to call in the debt and Emma cannot cover.
Trying to correct her mistakes both financially and emotionally, Emma discovers that her secrets were not so secret after all as it all comes crashing down around her.
Wasikowska is always amazing playing the roles of demur women needing to find who they are in the world. In the case of Madame Bovary, she has no one to guide her as every mistake gets bigger and bigger without having any idea of it. There is a childlike quality in her ways and reasonings with Wasikowska holding that character beautifully.
Lloyd-Hughes as Charles plays a simple man who wants to take care of the town’s people and have a lovely life with his wife. Seeing the changes in his life he tries to tell Emma that this is hurting them, but he never quite comes out to say “no.” Lloyd-Hughes plays his character with an endearment that is painful.
Marshall-Green as The Marquis is the playboy of his time. Obviously used to getting what he wants, he makes no exception with Emma, but when the words of love are spoken he is spooked. Charm only goes so far, yet Marshall-Green manages to take it a little further. Giamatti as Homais is a man clearly out to keep the good name of the doctor and the town and isn’t about to let Emma get in the way of that.
Miller as Dupuis is a young man in love who, at first, only sees through the eyes of love. As the affair becomes obsessive and desperate, he knows that propriety won’t allow them to go any further.
Ifans as Monsieur Lherureux is as devious as he wants to be. Sweet talking Emma from the beginning he knew the consequences of allowing Emma to buy on credit. It is a matter of time before the evil side shows its face. I love that he has the ability to be both the light and dark of a character.
Other cast include: Laura Carmichael as Henriette, Richard Cordery as L’Abbe Bournisien, Morfydd Clark as Camille, Oliver Gourmet as Monsieur Rouault and Luke Tittensor as Hippolyte.
Alchemy leads the way in distribution of film and television content in North America. Responsible for showing the work of filmmakers Richard Linklater, Werner Herzog, John Hillcoat, John Turturro, Lee Daniels and James Cameron to name just a few. Their successes include “Welcome to Me,” “What Maisie Knew,” “Rampart” and “Bernie.” For more on “Madame Bovary,” go to www.madamebovarythemovie.com.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “Madame Bovary” three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. “Madame Bovary” is a beloved classic novel by Gustave Flaubert written in 1856 and was called out for being obscene. A trial was held in 1857 in which Flaubert was acquitted, sending his book sales skyrocketing!
I absolutely love period pieces and especially period pieces that are done well. “Madame Bovary” has all of that and more. From brilliant costuming along with stunning dresses to the character actors that bring the time period alive, it is all so very well done.
Wasikowska brings Emma to life in so many extraordinary ways. From the highs and lows of this young woman’s life in a time where the rules for women were set in stone, she also shows a naïveté as only she can. The expression in her eyes is so telling that watching this film was a joy.
In the end — it is tragedy in the romantic era.