Gemma Bovery: Film Review


This new twist on Gustave Flaubert’s novel Madame Bovary is sweet, enjoyable but sadly very forgettable. Gemma Arterton is fabulous as Gemma and she learned French for the role which deserves major Brownie points but nothing about it sticks in my mind.

The events unfold through the eyes of French baker Martin (Fabrice Luchini), who becomes a bit obsessed with Gemma as she moves into a nearby farm from London and adjusts to the language and quiet village life with her husband Charlie (Jason Flemyng). She and Martin become friends and he makes a connection between her and Madame Bovary when she embarks on an affair with law student Herve (Niels Schneider).

I liked the idea of the third person onlooker with Martin as we see the story from a fresh perspective. The story has the same major plot points as the novel so it would have felt too familiar going over the well-known tale again. Martin is also incredibly funny – the way he talks to himself and theorises about what Gemma’s doing made me smile. He is my favourite thing about the film.

However, this is also the film’s stumbling block because you never get to really see how Gemma feels in a proper, in-depth way. Because the focus isn’t 100% on Gemma, you don’t feel for her as much as you should, you don’t understand why she is fed up with Charlie and why she falls in love with Herve. There’s not much connection with any characters besides Martin.

I enjoyed watching this film, especially the new twist on the ending, which is darkly comedic and brilliant. Gemma is glorious to watch and her French seems great to me. I loved the setting and the cast but it doesn’t do enough with such a familiar story to make it stand out and be exciting and memorable. Pleasant Sunday afternoon watching though.

In cinemas 21st August 

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