Tuesday, July 7, 2015

"Gemma Bovery," a Film

I had read Posy Simmonds’ 1999 graphic novel, “Gemma Bovery,” and enjoyed it, so I thought it would be fun to see the movie version with the same title. It was fun, definitely, and a good although not a great film. Both the book and the film provide a tongue-in-cheek modern version of Flaubert’s great novel, “Madame Bovary” (which I read and studied in college, and re-read later, although not recently), in which the main character is named Emma Bovary. The film is in French, with some English, and English subtitles. The main character, Gemma Bovery, and her husband Charles move from England to the Normandy countryside, where Flaubert’s novel was also set. One of their neighbors is taken with the coincidence of Gemma’s name being so close to that of Emma Bovary, and at the same time develops a huge crush on her. He observes her constantly, in what would be a creepy fashion if it were not for his seeming innate basic decency. Gemma, like Emma, is unhappy in her marriage and bored, as well as being very beautiful and exuding sexuality, and inevitably she finds love or at least passion elsewhere, which eventually, also inevitably, leads to a sad ending. The film manages to balance lightness with seriousness, and is certainly entertaining, enhanced by the good acting on the part of all the main actors as well as by the beautiful setting. I am of course an easy mark for a book or film that is based on or connected to, and a variation on, a classic book, so I was predisposed to like this movie, and I did indeed like it. By the way, although having read “Madame Bovary” adds a little extra sense of connection to the film, it is definitely not a requirement for enjoying this film.
Site Meter