Gemma Bovery

100 minutes 2014

The ever-rumpled Fabrice Luchini stars as a middle-aged husband and father who has abandoned his academic career in Paris to take over his father's little bakery in Normandy; a disciple of Gustave Flaubert, the former professor goes into a tizzy when a young wife, newly arrived in town and coincidentally named Gemma Bovery, begins to travel the same life trajectory as the adulterous protagonist of Madame Bovary. French writer-director Anne Fontaine established herself with such dark psychological dramas as How I Killed My Father (2001) and Entre Ses Mains (2005) and has since moved on to such lighter fare as The Girl From Monaco (2008) and Coco Before Chanel (2009), but this is the first Fontaine movie I've seen that qualifies as lightweight. The literary gloss notwithstanding, it's a standard May-December flirtation comedy, exemplified by a scene in which the sexy heroine (Gemma Arterton) is stung on the back by a wasp and implores the professor to suck the poison out (2014). In French with subtitles.

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Gemma Bovery

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