In the sixth film adaptation of the famous French romantic novel, we see Mia Wasikowska in the role of one of the least likable female characters from the literary world, Madame Bovary. The rest of the cast in this film are equally impressive Rhys Ifans, Ezra Miller, Logan Marshall-Green, Henry Lloyd-Huges, Laura Carmichael, and Paul Giamatti. This USA and German coproduction filmed in France was directed by Sophi Barthes.
The film follows young girl Emma (Wasikowska). Before turning eighteen, she has to leave the convent and accept the marriage arranged by her father. Soon Emma finds herself in a small provincial town Yonville married to a country doctor, Charles Bovary (Henry Lloyd-Huges). Her life is far from what she hoped for. She spends most of her time alone and miserable. The small town does not bring any thrill or excitement. She spends days wandering alone in the garden or reading. Even when her husband is at home, Emma feels lonely and neglected. A local law clerk Leon (Ezra Miller), starts showing interest in her. Although she keeps her restrain and does not respond to Leon’s advances, she wonders if there could be more from life. Her secret wishes come true once she meets Marquis d’Andervilliers (Logan Marshall-Green). She gets intrigued by him, and soon after, they start a love affair. Her life suddenly becomes more thrilling. She starts spending money on extravagant and expensive clothes. She borrows money driven by her ambition to move upward in society. Her aspiration soon becomes the reason for her demise.
Sophie Barthes directed and co-authored the screenplay for this sixth adaptation of the classic written by Gustave Flaubert. It was received with mixed reactions from both the audience and the film critics. The team behind this production decided to omit entirely certain parts from the book, making the characters in the film two-dimensional and unrelatable. Mia Wasikowska still manages to give an excellent performance and captures the audience. The entire production is lavish with perfectly designed period sets and costumes.
If you like period dramas, you will certainly enjoy this movie. It is far from perfect, and at moments it is far from the original novel as well. However, overall performance by the entire cast and excellent production will give you solid two hours of 19th-century romance with an unhappy ending.