Bel Ami

"Good"

Bel Ami Review


Guy de Maupassant's 1885 novel was first adapted for the cinema in 1919, and yet the story has some intriguing parallels with European society today. On the other hand, this adaptation never finds its tone, and it doesn't give us a single character to care about.

In 1890 Paris, penniless charmer Georges (Pattinson) has a chance encounter with former comrade Charles (Glenister), who offers him a job as a journalist.

Unable to string a sentence together, Charles' wife Madeleine (Thurman) offers to help, but refuses his relentless flirting. Instead he starts a torrid affair with married family friend Clotilde (Ricci). But a taste of the high life goes to his head, and when Charles dies, he makes a move for Madeleine. Or maybe he can get more out of Virginie (Scott Thomas), wife of the newspaper boss (Meaney).

The central question is whether Georges is manipulating people for his own gain, or whether everyone else is actually using him. So the story is a political thriller (a scandal that could topple the government), romantic melodrama (he yearns for each woman in very different ways) and bedroom farce, all at the same time. Yet the more we get to know Georges the more we despise him: not only is he selfish and cruel, but he's also seriously dim. And even though Pattinson gives his spiciest performance yet (which isn't saying much), we never root for him.

Meanwhile, the actresses make the most of their one-sided roles. Thurman oozes confidence as an intelligent woman who refuses to submit to a man's world.

Ricci is sweet as the doe-eyed lover who hasn't a clue what's really going on around her. Scott Thomas is hilarious as the repressed woman who becomes rather unhinged when Georges loosens her corset. Meaney, Glenister and Lance (as a politician) glower nastily through every scene, clearly plotting something villainous.

But all of this gloomy intrigue weighs the film down, never becoming clear enough to engage our interest and distracting us from the much more entertaining romantic chaos. At least the filmmakers have some fun in the bed-hopping scenes, letting the actors add lusty subtext to every glance. If only this light touch had extended through the entire film.



Bel Ami

Facts and Figures

Run time: 102 mins

In Theaters: Friday 9th March 2012

Box Office USA: $0.1M

Box Office Worldwide: $8.3M

Budget: $9M

Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures

Production compaines: Redwave Films, Protagonist Pictures, Rai Cinema

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 28%
Fresh: 25 Rotten: 63

IMDB: 5.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Declan Donnellan, Nick Ormerod

Producer:

Starring: as Georges Duroy, as Clotilde de Marelle, as Madeleine Forestier, as Virginie Walters, as Rachel, as Suzanne Rousset, as Rousset, as Charles Forestier, as François Laroche, as Comte de Vaudrec, Thomas Arnold as Louis, as Solicitor, Pip Torrens as Paul the Butler, as Police Commisioner, Amy Marston as Nanny

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.