Sunday, 15 March 2015

MFFF MOVIE REVIEW: GEMMA BOVERY



41/2/5

Life imitates art in this quirky film based on a comic book. Martin is a baker, and an intellectual from a big city who had chosen a quiet life in Province. But it is shattered when an English couple moves next door. Their names are Charles and Gemma Bovery and for Martin it is a sign. Madame Bovery is his favourite book, and when Gemma's life falls into the pattern of the famous heroine, Martin is ready to help. But is he helping Gemma, or just fuels his obsession?

GEMA BOVERY is a short and focused comedy with a touch of a dark humour. It holds together mainly by the performance of Fabrice Luchini, whose desires and longing for the real romantic adventure is written all over his  face. Gemma Arterton does her best, and is lovely to look at. There's a lot of food on screen, mostly bread, and there's a magical atmosphere of Province. The France here is  guidebook perfect and the characters are to match.

While the story is somewhat predictable, it has many, funny moments. Gemma herself does not look like a heroine from some classical book. She simply lives, stumbles, makes mistakes, tries to correct them and makes the new ones. Martin is shown mostly as a voyeur, but the one who has to step up and take part in the action if he wants things to work his his way.

The director Anna Fontaine has created a lavish film and has total control of her story. Keeping it precise and concise she confidently touches upon the things that matter, making serious points without preaching. 

Deceivingly lighthearted, GEMMA BOVERY will leave a long lasting impression. It is a comedy about love, classic literature and middle age obsessions that could have been made only in France.

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