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Madame Bovary
Madame Bovary
Actors: Isabelle Huppert, Jean-François Balmer, Christophe Malavoy, Jean Yanne, Lucas Belvaux
Director: Claude Chabrol
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
PG-13     2002     2hr 23min

It's a mixed blessing, but Claude Chabrol's 1991 adaptation of Madame Bovary can at least claim a proper French pedigree in its fidelity to Flaubert's literary classic. It's certainly more faithful than Madame herself, pla...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Isabelle Huppert, Jean-François Balmer, Christophe Malavoy, Jean Yanne, Lucas Belvaux
Director: Claude Chabrol
Creators: Jean Rabier, Claude Chabrol, Monique Fardoulis, Marin Karmitz, Gustave Flaubert
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 11/05/2002
Original Release Date: 12/25/1991
Theatrical Release Date: 12/25/1991
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 2hr 23min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: French, English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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Movie Reviews

The Madame of Bad Decisions
V. Marshall | North Fork, CA USA | 08/31/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This film is a French adaptation of Gustave Flaubert's classic tale of human bondage, "Madame Bovary."

I expected this adaptation to be better than others I have seen simply because it was done by the French, but sadly the film does not hold up to Flaubert's original work. Isabelle Huppert does a so-so job as the lead character, the great sufferer, Madame Bovary. Huppert does not show enough passion and emotion for my taste though, the original character is consumed by suffering and desperately stabs at whatever form of relief comes her way, but Huppert doesn't quite get any depth out of this performance. She looks lovely in her period costumes however. Madame Bovary succumbed to adultery, debtful spending habits and even suicide while being married to Dr. Bovary and never feeling passionately satisfied with her life. The character is both the ultimate victim of her own circumstances and that of the stigma society held over women of her time. In the classic novel she screams for understanding and compassion but here Huppert only manages to stir a selfish and self-absorbed creature lacking any decent humanity.

Contrasting to the Madame is Dr. Bovary, played decently by Jean-Francois Balmer, who manages to bring a sorrow to the dutiful man who cowers at the Madame's feet. Malavoy is sweet and hardworking much as I imagine the original character to be and also sadly unsuspicious of his wicked wife's activities at his expense. The enigmatic and suave character of Rodolphe Boulanger is played by the handsome and convincing Christophe Malavoy. Malavoy is seductively charming and maliciously evil at the same time, the perfect match for Mrs. Bovary!

I enjoyed this film for the French aesthetic value but feel the need to dust off my old classic novel and re-read the story as written by the master, Flaubert. I enjoy the message contained in this story about the sin of excess and lack of reason behind decisions, interestingly enough this 1856 novel could use a few more readings in today's world. The film is good but the novel is GREAT, enjoy both for the experience.
Flaubert + Chabrol = Period Drama
The Movie Man | Maywood, New Jersey USA | 11/15/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Madame Bovary," based on the novel by Gustave Flaubert, stars Isabelle Huppert in the title role. Unsuccessfully prosecuted by the French government as "immoral" after its publication in 1857, "Madame Bovary" is the story of a country doctor's wife bored with the banalities and emptiness of her provincial life in 19th-century France. To escape, she throws herself into love affairs with a suave local landowner (Rodolphe Boulanger) and a law student (Leon Dupuis) and runs up huge debts, much to the dismay of her dull husband. The 1991 film, directed by Claude Chabrol, closely follows Flaubert's novel and beautifully captures most of the famous scenes. Filmed in Rouen and neighboring villages, it lavishly evokes 19th-century France with its winding country roads, meadows, and homes. Period costumes complete the portrait of the era. The movie is in French with English subtitles. The two-disc DVD includes the bonus documentary "Isabelle Huppert: A Life of Acting."
Madame Bovary
Katharina Hogsberg | Portugal | 10/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Nobody could play the role better than Isabelle Huppert! I have red the book and seen the film. Never have I seen a film more "loyal" to such a wonderful book, than the film made by Claude Chabrol. And Isabelle Huppert gives us the most wonderful representation of the young Madame Bovary. She truely transmites us the idea of a woman who lives in another world; whose soul is restless, sufering, bored and longing for a glamourous life. If one likes the book, the film by Claude Chabrol will certainly not be disappointing!"
Every sin demands a prize!
Hiram Gomez Pardo | Valencia, Venezuela | 06/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Madame Bovary is one of the most priceless examples of the Romantic literature that stands out among a group of related works in other countries. As a matter of fact, you may include Anna Karenina in Russia, Effie Briest in Germany and Tess in England.

The common denominator has to do with the lack of satisfaction, the ceaseless search of new experiences, far beyond the hover of social conventionalisms, boredom and the febrile circumstance of breaking the chains of the tradition, it's far to be an apology to adultery, it's the final result of the Romantic view of the feminine universe, where the women just began to realize the importance of them as human being and not simply as an object for sexual enjoyment.

So, this adaptation made by Claude Chabrol, takes into account this scream of desperation, loneliness, boredom and hopeless about the dreams and unsatisfied desires of simple woman, curious but endowed of a strong character who realizes her vision of the world is beyond the approach of her weak husband.

She will decide - regardless the social conventionalisms - to follow her bliss and her pursuit for happiness, no matter the consequences she had to pay after the scandal is reveled. But that fatal decision has its prize, and soon the ambition, caprices will demand its counterpart, that slow but irreversibly will lead her to a tragic final.

But what I mostly enjoyed of the movie was the way Chabrol carved in relief these little sins of the social environment, whose moral corruption and ethic decay bright with nasty intensity.

Isabelle Huppert, shows us once more why she was the perfect actress to perform this role, the camerawork and the theatrical feature of the play may be appreciated in its horrid intensity and superb realism.

Don't miss this classic film, frequently included among the most representative ones any time. In fact, the prestigious "Facets" included this one among the best 600 foreign films ever made, and that means by itself a remarkable opinion.

Go for this one and enjoy it over and over. It's a masterpiece.