Madame Bovary (1991)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Literary critics long regarded Gustave Flaubert's iconic French novel Madame Bovary as unfilmable (despite several attempts by Vincente Minnelli and others to bring it to the screen), but Nouvelle Vague architect Claude Chabrol set out to definitively prove them wrong with this Oscar-nominated feature adaptation from 1991, starring Isabelle Huppert (The Lacemaker). Huppert stars as Emma Bovary, a woman whose happiness depends exclusively on elements outside of herself. She spends her days indulging in flights of fancy and endless romantic longings, emotionally estranged from her good-natured but ignorant husband Charles (Jean-François Balmer) a physician whom she married as an escape from her landowner father's farm. Her fate seems poised to change when she meets and falls hard for Rodolphe Boulanger (Christophe Malavoy) - a lover who takes her to bed and then vows to elope with her. Pinning all of her hopes on this, she invests in a traveling costume that she's unable to afford (rendering herself completely in debt with a local millner), and plans to skip town with Rodolphe when the monies come due. Alas, Rodolphe, as it turns out, never planned to follow through with the elopement plans, and promptly abandons Emma, leaving her to face the dire consequences of her foolish decisions.
PG-13 (adult situations/language)
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Republic Pictures Home Video


Isabelle Huppert
as Emma Bovary
Jean-François Balmer
as Charles Bovary
Jean Yanne
as Homais
Lucas Belvaux
as Leon Dupuis
Jean-Louis Maury
as Lheuveux
Florent Gibassier
as Hippolyte
Sabeline Campo
as Felicite
Marie Mergey
as Charles Bovary's Mother
Christiane Minazzoli
as Widow LeFrancois
Francois Maistre
as Lieuvain, Advisor
Dominique Clement
as Madame Homais
Etienne Draber
as Master Guillaumin/Notary
Jacques Dynam
as L'Abbe Bournisien
Christine Paolini
as Mother Rolet Nourrice/Nurse
Jean-Claude Bouillaud
as Father Rouault
Thomas Chabrol
as Viscount
Henri Attal
as Master Hareng/Gentleman-Usher
André Thorent
as Doctor Canivet
Dominique Zardi
as The Blind One
Gilette Barbier
as Nastasie
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Critic Reviews for Madame Bovary

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (1)

Chabrol's ostensibly placid version of Madame Bovary invests Flaubert's portrait of stifled womanhood with unmistakable flintiness. It chafes against the beautiful images with perfect irony.

Full Review… | May 5, 2010
East Bay Express

The beautiful Isabelle Huppert never quite catches the Flaubert vibe.

December 21, 2008
Film Threat

Treating this 19th century novel with tender loving care and just the right emphasis, director Claude Chabrol has made it speak to our times.

Full Review… | July 12, 2003
Spirituality and Practice

Quote not available.

July 24, 2006

Quote not available.

November 1, 2005

Quote not available.

July 17, 2005
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Audience Reviews for Madame Bovary


Even though much of the novel is gone -- this film, in my opinion, is the best film adaptation of Flaubert's "perfect" novel. However, at times, it feels as though Chabrol is a bit too enraptured with Huppert's beauty and the pacing is thrown off. Still, a masterful work.

Matty Stanfield
Matty Stanfield

I found it to be a slow movie, and I really didn't like the portrayal of the heroine, though that could just be the accurate representation of the character from the book (which I have not yet read). Sometime later in the movie, I just took the DVD out and stopped watching it, which I *never* do.

Zelyaine T
Zelyaine T

(***): [img][/img] Interesting and well-acted.


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