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Bel Ami contains some soapy pleasures but it overall rushes through the narrative and suffers from a vague central performance by Robert Pattinson.
All Critics (92)
| Top Critics (27)
| Fresh (25)
| Rotten (67)
The supposedly cunning protagonist registers as a cipher, and the directors' tendency to shoot dialogue scenes in close-up blunts any understanding of the social milieu he's trying to conquer.
The women are all elegant and intelligent, they know the ways of the world, and they know Georges' history. Why do they find him attractive? We don't, and that failure is the downfall of the film.
Pattinson's passion is bloodless, his rakish George Duroy a font of undelivered potential.
Good actors flit in and out of the movie - particularly Kristin Scott Thomas and Colm Meaney - but no one seems able to conquer the essential silliness of it all...
What distinguishes Pattinson in the role is the sense he conveys of someone roiling and churning beneath a surface that is almost, but not quite, calm.
Cramming over 400 pages into a little over 100 minutes not only skips over important incidents - like Georges' embarrassed return home with one love -- but rushes the characters through emotional arcs.
There's almost nothing about Bel Ami which doesn't feel contrived and artificial.
It's neither seductive nor absorbing, and although I hate to point the finger... I would say the lead actor, Robert Pattinson, means well and tries hard, bless, but just doesn't have the chops.
The performances are incredibly hammy; the worst culprit being Pattinson whose turn is not only weak, but incredibly irritating to boot.
Nothing more than insufficiently directed codswallop in delectable costumes, with a starry cast who are worthy of much, much better.
Bel Ami could have been well-dressed, saucy escapism but as far as costume dramas go, it's big on costumes and woefully short on drama.
Unfortunately the rather ludicrous camp characteristics of the story, such as Uma Thurman rolling around on Egyptian cotton sheets shouting "Look at the grain exports to Algiers!" are never fully recognised...
A rushed and insipid soap opera with lame performances, especially by Robert Pattinson, who is a terrible actor completely miscast as an ambitious seducer, unable to show what his character feels or what could possibly draw those refined women to him beside his looks.
I like movies based on this era, but the subject of this movie was senseless to me...
Started off slow, but really was worth sticking with. I am not a fan of period movies in general, but was interested to see Robert Pattinson in something other than Twilight movies. Also quite like Christina Ricci.
This is a really well acted movie. Robert is quite convincing and you do see that all is not smiles as he seems to be on the surface. The women are also well written and convincing. The sex scene with him and Uma is quite brutal in an unexpected way. Actually hard to watch even though nothing is really shown.
Quite a dark little movie.
Possessed by love. Consumed by desire.
Not so great of a movie! The choice of Robert Pattinson as the hero, or antihero of Guy de Maupassant's novel is probably the main reason for the overall failure of the movie adaptation. Missing the artistic maturity necessary to sustain the depth of a complex character, he seems to feel uncomfortable in his role, and whereas at the beginning his pale, embarrassed face and posture may be suitable for the part of a former poor soldier entering the glittering world of high society, once he is part of it, those same face and posture reveal his true feeling ill at ease in what is a totally unsuitable role for him. That's why the story, centred on his figure, develops in a boring, pedantic way, showing no punch and no real pathos, in search for a bounce that never comes. Nothing to say against the brilliant female performances,the frivolous Christina Ricci is the only one who enlivens the pale and inexpressive face of Georges, but Uma Thurman and Kristin Scott Thomas compete for the best performance, the first perfect in the role of the ambiguous Madeleine, and the latter courageous in her role of an ageing married woman, losing her mind for a young lover, and the last scene with her dressed in black at her daughter's marriage to Georges proves the only vivid moment within the whole picture.
Georges Duroy is a penniless soldier returning from war. He travels to Paris in a search for ways to improve his social and financial status. He uses his wit and powers of seduction to charm wealthy women.
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