Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary
Mia Wasikowska and Paul Giamatti

Rated: R for some sexuality/nudity.
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: June 12, 2015 Released by: Alchemy

A dream-like visual interpretation offers a certain amount of beauty in this flawed, if sumptuous adaptation of a classic Gustav Flaubert novel.

The well-intentioned period picture from Sophia Barthes, Madame Bovary stars busy thespians Mia Wasikowska (Tracks, Maps To The Stars), Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man), and Paul Giamatti (San Andreas, Love & Mercy). It's clear that lenser Andrij Parekh finds an aura of 19th Century provincial France from the title character's range from melancholy to fervor that counters the growing actress's usual subtle interpretations.

Wasikowska's Emma Bovary doesn't like the restrictions of her hamlet and whisks herself from societal mores, as there is less of an emphasis on Monsieur Bovary, a more sensible and gracious husband. Barthes clearly emphasizes what makes the heroine tick from her vantage point, much more than the antecedent.

The action around a unique detachment is limited but hunting has a rapturous look to it with Emma hardly being the most sympathetic person to relate to - at least for some time until she knows when to take that leap from a most earthly milieu. Many distaff viewers will take notice of some particular lavish and ravishing attire that offers kudos to the wardrobe and costume designing.

With sensitivity and some precision Barthes at times elevates a tricky tale concerning personal ruination with stunning, though frustrating results around the scope of character definition. But, Wasikowska has a way of connecting with an unusual alternate reality and Ifans relishes the sneaky, glib Monsieur Lheureux. Giamatti, though, may be too short-changed, to evince his customary prowess in the role of Monsieur Homais. Still, many discerning arthouse cineastes will like the charitable  right-mindedness elucidated in this Madame Bovary though it falls short of the more captivating Jane Eyre which Wasikowska headlined.

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