Culture, Film

Film Review: life imitates art in ‘Gemma Bovery’

Based on the graphic novel by Posy Simmonds, “Gemma Bovery” follows Charlie Bovery and his wife, the titular Gemma, as they move from London to a small village near Rouen, in the north of France. There, they meet Martin (the baker), Valérie (the baker’s wife), Wizzy and Rankin (the insufferable bores), and Hervé (the young, extremely handsome, and thoroughly dissolute Comte de Bressigny.

Gemma Bovery

Martin is instantly struck by the charming coincidence that Charlie and Gemma have the same names as the lead characters in his favourite book –Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. Martin also notices that Gemma and Charlie’s lives also eerily seem to be paralleling their fictional namesakes. He tries to intervene, but fate has its way.

Gemma Bovery

It’s an interesting sort of a film. The cinematography is breathtaking – and, though it’s triteto say so, the true star of this film is the gorgeous Norman countryside. It’s all sunlit apple orchards, idyllic snow-covered fields, wee villages filled with people languidly smoking and eating pastries, and afterwards all we wanted to do was leave at once for France.

Gemma Bovery

The acting is quite strong too. Gemma Arterton (Gemma) is appropriately anguished and emotional, and Fabrice Luchini (Martin) is equal parts comic and concerned. Elsa Zylberstein (Wizzy) isperfectly cast as the odious Wizzy, and Niels Schneider does wonderfully as the young and philandering comte.

Gemma Bovery

It would have been nice to have had a few homages to the original graphic novel in the film – as you would see in a Snyder film – but this is a minor point. Thisis a wee gem of a film, and there’s nothing really wrong with it at all.

Gemma Bovery

By Michael Tarry
13th May 2015

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