2015 promises to be a great year for fans of “Madame Bovary,” with two adaptations of Gustave Flaubert’s classic novel set for release. While Sophie Barthe’s “Madame Bovary,” a period piece starring Mia Wasikowska, seems to be a more loyal retelling of the source material, a newly released US trailer for Anne Fontaine’s “Gemma Bovery” offers a decidedly more modern take on the story of a woman who seeks more out of life and love by means of extramarital activities. In fact, “Gemma Bovery” is based on Posy Simmond’s graphic novel of the same name — so, really, it’s an adaptation of an adaptation.
Gemma Arterton stars as Gemma Bovery, a woman who moves to France from London with her husband Charlie (Jason Flemyng, “The Missing”). The pair happen to settle in the same town where Flaubert wrote “Madame Bovary,” much to the delight of locals, who bask in the coincidence of their new neighbors’ surname. It quickly becomes apparent than Gemma shares more in common with Emma Bovary than a last name.
In this spot for the film, a passage from the novel is read aloud — “in the depths of her soul she was waiting for something to happen” — and it’s clear that Gemma, like her predecessor Madame Bovary, yearns for passion and excitement. Cue Hervé de Bressigny (Niels Schneider, “Odysseus”), a dreamy neighbor, who suggests Emma come by his “chateau.” We see a shot of Hervé giving Gemma a sensuous touch on the shoulder at the market, and it’s not long before they engage in full-fledged steamy sex.
The film looks beautiful, especially the setting of the French countryside. The tone of Fountaine’s feature seems lighter than that of Flaubert’s novel, so here’s hoping Madame Bovery gets a happier ending this time around.
“Gemma Bovery” hits theatres May 29.