The Pleasurable “Gemma Bovery”

Art lies like truth. Life, then, never quite imitates art. Still, a French baker (Fabrice Luchini) watches to see whether the life of a married English woman named Gemma Bovery, whom the baker loves and lusts after, imitates that of the fictional Emma in the novel Madame Bovary. It does not, for all the strangeness, in Anne Fontaine‘s Gemma Bovery (2014), of human experience. In fact, the strangeness is a “mundane” surrealism.

Gemma Bovery has been correctly deemed thin, but it is also flavorous. Gemma, I will point out, cheats on her husband with a fellow called Herve. It is a stunningly sensual scene when she appears in Herve’s house in a bikini and, as the two lie down and kiss, her large breast slips out. Gemma Arterton, in the title role, is likably nuanced. Fontaine, adapting here a graphic novel, is an able filmmaker.

(In French, and sometimes English, with English subtitles)

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