March 1st, 2012 / 5 Comments


Oh I know there are going to be people out there saying, how come you only post the positive reviews and not the negative.  And my response is – I’m a glass half full kinda gal.  I’m not really interested in the negative ones because unless they are constructive criticism, what’s the point in sharing, all it manages to do is irritate the hell out of me because sometimes people just don’t want to stray from the herd of haters.  Anyway I digress.  Michael Coveney of WhatsOnStage gives us his honest review of Bel Ami and I like it:

“Cheek by Jowl directors Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod hosted a screening of their new, and indeed first, movie in the Charlotte Street Hotel yesterday afternoon.

Bel Ami is a sumptuous transposition to the screen (by no means the first) of Guy de Maupassant’s fin de siecle Parisian novel starring Robert Pattinson as Georges Duroy, the dissolute French soldier who rises to the top of society and journalism by the simple expedient of sleeping with the wives of his employers.

These three married lovers are played by Uma Thurman, sly, slinky and smouldering as the political editor’s wife, who writes Georges’ articles for him; Kristin Scott Thomas, giving a brilliant performance of vulnerability thawing into hysterical abandon as the editor’s wife, whom he seduces in church and viciously rejects partly in order to marry her daughter; and Christina Ricci, foxy and flirtatious as the deeply attractive Clotilde, whom he loves above all the others, and whose pert little daughter dubs him “bel ami.”

It’s a deeply sour tale of having your cake and eating it, and it’s beautifully played and sumptuously costumed. And you can’t fail to notice in these rocky days for newspaper ethics, that Georges moves sideways from his diary of a cavalryman in the Algerian war to head of gossip on the broadsheet; he draws a line, though, at taking his share of the profits when war-mongering becomes a sort of insider trading.

Donnellan and Ormerod ran a five-week rehearsal period before they even got on the studio floor, and it shows. The music swells, but not all the time; you can hear the actors breathe, the long dresses rustle, the symbolic cockroach scuttle across Georges’ attic before he pummels it to death.

As a debut movie, and made for the comparative pittance of nine million euros, it’s almost indecently good and highly accomplished. And although Pattinson twitches his nostrils a little too often, he’s spot on as the louche lothario.

The set-piece scenes, too, in low taverns and high society, are a vigorous swirl of colour and choreography, studded with sharp performances all round. Nice to see little nuggety vignettes from Timothy Walker (an early Cheek by Jowl stalwart) as a lawyer and Christopher Fulford as a police officer.

There’s a magnificent deathbed scene when Georges goes to comfort Uma Thurman’s almost-widow as Philip Glenister coughs up his last on the coast at Cannes. And the interiors and location shots (Budapest stands in for Paris) are a continuous delight.”

If you want to read the full article, click on hyperlink above.

Thanks to BelAmiFilm for the tip.

  • Jules
    Posted on March 01, 2012

    Brilliant!! Thanks Maria – I’m a glass half full kinda gal myself. 😉 This was an enjoyable read.

    A twitching nostril can be very attractive – just saying. 😉

  • Sue
    Posted on March 01, 2012

    haha Jules ….”a twitching nostril” ~ who’d have thought?!

    Thanks Maria ~ I’m more than happy that you’re selective with the reviews you post ~ this IS our ‘happiest place on earth ‘ after all!

  • Vicky
    Posted on March 01, 2012

    What a great review!!! Had a little chuckle at the “twitching nostrils” comment, didn’t realize that was a bad thing. LOL Jules, i hear you on that one!! Thanks Maria and please feel free to keep seeing that glass half full!!!

  • Cindy
    Posted on March 01, 2012

    I could watch Rob and his “twitching nostrils” all day thanks very much! Great review Thanks ox

  • Val
    Posted on March 02, 2012

    🙂 Spot on, @Sue. Thanks Maria, love the way you do things, please don’t ever change! And why shouldn’t such a fine looking nose perform to the very best of it’s capabilities? Not all noses are so talented.

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