Madame Bovary (2014) Blu-ray Review
The novel, by Gustave Flaubert, is regarded as a classic. Sadly I can’t say the same about this, the fourteenth film telling of MADAME BOVARY.
Emma (Wasikowska) spent her life growing up dreaming of being wealthy. She went to the kind of school where expressing yourself artistically was important. Of course, so was walking around with a book on your head to improve your posture. When she marries up and coming physician Charles Bovary (Henry Lloyd-Hughes) she’s sure she’s found her golden ticket. Sadly for her, doctors didn’t make a lot in the 19th Century.
A film that seems to run almost twice as long as it’s actual two hours, MADAME BOVARY is like a bottle of shampoo. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Emma is unhappy. Emma takes a lover she hopes has money. Emma is dumped. Over and over again. Her first tryst is with a family friend referred to as “the Marquis” (Logan Marshall-Green), who enjoys his dalliances with Emma but soon grows bored. She also takes up with a young attorney (Ezra Miller, familiar to those of you that saw TRAINWRECK this summer as the underage boy that Amy Schumer took to bed). When she finds that she has racked up 10,000 francs in bills and that her husband is about to go to jail because of it, she even tries to seduce the banker.
That being said, there are some positives here. The cast is strong, handling the period language well. Ifans and Giamatti are two of our best supporting character actors and they do fine work here. Lloyd-Hughes is also very good as the young doctor in love. And I have to give credit to Wasikowska for almost making Emma someone you’d take pity on. The production design is beautiful and the costumes are gorgeous. Though I can’t for the life of me understand why woman wore dresses that were so long they dragged in the dirt everywhere they went. Emma spends a lot of times walking in the woods and her clothes are FILTHY every time she gets home. And the musical score, by Evgueni and Sacha Galperine, is a beautiful backdrop to the on screen action. This is also important as there are several sequences in the film that flow by without a word being spoken. Take it from me that pretty music makes watching an elaborate hunting sequence go by a lot quicker.
Having never read the novel I have no idea if the script is faithful to its source material. I would think an author as admired as Gustave Flaubert could write something better than the back of the shampoo bottle!
Video: Presented in its original 2:39.1 aspect ratio, the film makes good use of its colorful costumes, which stand out against a more darkened palatte.
Audio: The soundtrack is delivered in DTS TrueHD 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0. Sadly, both need to be cranked up to capture the dialogue being spoken.
There are no extras with this disc except the normal “coming soon” trailers.