Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Emma gets some action

 MADAME BOVARY (2 part BBC mini-series/2000). Director: Tim Fywell.

"Truly well-bred people don't give a fig about how their domestics behave. If I hadn't been told otherwise, I would swear you were middle-class!" -- Emma Bovary to her mother-in-law

Emma (Frances O'Connor) marries country doctor Charles Bovary (Hugh Bonneville) but discovers that life with him and his termagant mother (Eileen Atkins) is devoid of the romance, excitement and poetry that she finds in the many books she reads, and her dissatisfaction grows in leaps and bounds. She meets a soul mate named Leon (Hugh Dancy), then has a full-fledged affair with wealthy Rodolphe (Greg Wise). Meanwhile her debts mount as she is taken advantage of by slimy salesman Lheureux (Keith Barron). Although longer than the superior Hollywood film, this is a truncated version of the story with graphic softcore sex scenes. The main problem is that Emma is so distinctly unlikable in this that you can hardly summon up any sympathy for her: as played by O'Connor she comes off like a trampy, utterly thoughtless social climber and nothing more. This British television production is also on the cheap side like a studio-bound soap opera; the all-important ball sequence is almost laughably brief and comparative colorless. The actors in this are all good, but none of them give what could be called a great performance.

Verdict: Stick to the novel and the Hollywood version. **.

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