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Gemma Bovery 

Wednesday, Jun 3 2015

Memo to Music Box Films, distributors of Anne Fontaine's comedy Gemma Bovery: Your press release refers to the film as "a cheeky literary mash-up" without saying what two things it mashes up. Yes, the movie an adaptation of a graphic novel which is itself a riff on Gustave Flaubert's novel Madame Bovary, but that itself does not a mashup make — nor, unfortunately, does an entirely satisfying film does Gemma Bovery make. Martin (Fabrice Luchini) is an aging baker and bibliophile who rediscovers his sex drive when a young woman coincidentally named Gemma Bovery (the also coincidentally-named Gemma Arterton) and her husband move into the nearby house where, coincidentally enough, Flaubert wrote Madame Bovary. Along with wishing he could put his penis into Gemma, Martin becomes convinced that she's going to follow the tragic path of her (coincidental) literary namesake and tries to guide her destiny from afar, thus dehumanizing her on two different levels. Told in flashback from Martin's point of view, much of the comedy stems from his sexual frustration; when the oblivious Gemma's breasts get very close to his face, all that's missing is the comical timpani "bwomp!" sound. So maybe Gemma Bovery is a mashup of Flaubert and a tired, outdated sex farce, which explains why they left that detail out.


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Sherilyn Connelly


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