Bel Ami - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Bel Ami Reviews

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½ June 24, 2016
I am surprised by the negative reviews of this film. Like Age of Innocence, this film portrays true love thwarted by society and how we can become victim to the roles we are forced to play. Robert Pattinson, the son of pig farmers, an ex soldier, poor, ill who is picked up the demi monde who use him. Discovering how he is being manipulated and disrespected, he fights back using his limited resources. A simple man who would prefer enough money to live and domestic contentment, he ends up becoming a dominating bastard, unable to be with his true love, to the admiration of those who wouldn't have him be anything else. Pattinson is a sensitive and vulnerable performance is obviously flying under the radar for those viewers who also would prefer a villain to a human. Brilliant direction illuminating the pitfalls of masculinity and success and the costs incurred.
June 1, 2016
Elegance, affluence & seduction; based on French author Guy De Maupassant's 1885 novel of the same name, Bel Ami is the story of a base-born handsome scoundrel who uses ruthless cunning and sexual manipulation to beguile influential woman and climb the societal rungs of 1890's Paris.

Sophisticatedly written, prudently characterized and sharply penned, Bel Ami loses very little in its English translation but rather in its far too tame and somewhat hollow layering. Directors Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod fail to capture the requisite weight and significance of the swaggering protagonist's actions, but perhaps that's because the stunning social climber is portrayed by Robert Pattinson,

Left penniless after serving three years in Algeria, Georges Duroy (Robert Pattinson) is determined to crawl his way out of the Parisian gutter to which he is slumped. Bumping into an old comrade-at-arms turned La Vie Francaise newspaper political editor Charles Forestier (Philip Glenister); Duroy is invited to an intimate upper-middle class dinner and introduced to three women with whom he attempts to entangle with his unyielding powers of sexual persuasion.

Forestier's empowered and candid wife, Madeline (Uma Thurman) quickly declares that she is unlike other women and her interest lies in the prospect of his intellectual accomplishments. The proper wife of newspaper boss Virginie Walters (Kristen Scott Thomas) whom he hopelessly infatuates and the wide-eyed Clotilde de Marelle (Christina Ricci), whose husband's eternal absence is never ending and her young daughters affections towards Duroy or as she names him Bel Ami is genuinely heart-felt.

An ever resourceful and adept manipulator, Duroy uses his cruel gifts to exploit each woman in turn. As the amorous Clotilde supports him both mentally and financially, lovesick Virginie passes insider secrets from her husband's corrupt closed-office meetings and sharp Madeline's writes his prose for his articles. But it is not until Charles Forestier's health fails that Duroy finds opportunity.

Propositioning Madeline, Duroy offers a mutually beneficial marriage that sees him ascends to the prestigious post as social king and the undisputed chief editor of the paper whilst she retains her social station and through him gets to voice her own political prowess, a rarity for women.

But life and marriage is not easy. Discontent to continuously spoon feed the almost illiterate Duroy and let him continue his affairs but denied the same the courtesy, the strong willed Madeline brutally rebuffs his claim to male superiority and blatantly fans the flames of jealousy. Enraged, Duroy revisits old friends orchestrating a plan to discredit Madeline, prove his own worth and secure his position in society.

Will Duroy's greedy aspirations to succeed land him back in the gutter? Which of his women will he hurt, shun or trap? And will any forgive him in the end to find true happiness?

Unlike 1988's Dangerous Liaisons where John Malovich's naturally predatory sexuality drips from every minute expression, Robert Pattinson's obvious self-consciousness translates to little more than a repetitious petulant glare.

Although looking very much the part, culturally and personally Pattinson doesn't have the ability to convincingly capture the confident essence of this character. Like Bel Ami, Pattinson leaves the heavy lifting to his supporting ladies.

Confused accent aside, Thurman is a cold-as-steel standout. Ricci is engaging as the woman who forgives Bel Ami all indiscretions. Thomas's overt doting wonderfully teeters on silly and although in a small role Tena leaves a big impression as a brash and vulgar discarded whore of Bel Ami's early exploits.

The Verdict: With the films weakness residing in its lead, choppy structure and clumsy treatment of its central characters, it finishes lifeless and forced. The chic and ornate production design persistently tries to sweep us away but the befuddled handling of the key elements keeps us grounded in modern sticky cinema sets.

Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 01/06/2012
Super Reviewer
November 19, 2015
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 how his character feels and what could possibly draw those refined women to him beside his looks.
Super Reviewer
October 19, 2015
I taped it and fast forwarded through it, but decided not to spend the time to watch it, and when I saw Flixster's rating, that confirmed it.
June 9, 2015
Flat and monotonous.
½ June 4, 2015
Bel Ami is a movie about 3 women who are only attracted to Robert Pattinson because he's, um, Robert Pattinson. That's all. His character has no personality or charm. Nothing. He meets Christina Ricci's character in one scene. There's no sexual tension or anything. In the next scene, she tells him she'll come to his bedroom later.... OK, WHAT?!

This is a flat, dull, badly directed costume drama with an equally flat performance by Pattinson whose only job is to give smoldering glances at women.
½ May 19, 2015
From a novel that emphasizes on the lack of love and the triumph of the cynicism, this movie decides to focus exactly on that that it doesn't have.The excess of romance was nonsensical, and the heart of the novel faded between the scenes of tears and eternal vacuum stares from Pattinson. The natural charm from Bel Ami wasn't credible and was replaced with pure clumsiness. A rushed ending and a innecesary heart-to-heart scene eclipsed the triumph of the lack of values that was the main point of the story.
½ March 26, 2015
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, is what I wanted to do a lot during the film. This movie is about as exciting as watching grass grow and watching grass grow is boring as hell. Bel Ami is an unengaging, dull, bland, boring, extremely forgettable, and cheerless snooze fest from start to finish. What were the directors trying to accomplish by making this? What was the point they were trying to make? Why was this even necessary? These questions went through my head as I was watching this bore fest of a motion picture. Since I am a film fanatic, I decided to watch this for the hell of it because I like to watch different movies from time to time and hardly anybody even heard or seen it. I am certainly glad most people didn't see it because it is absolutely terrible.The story was not interesting at all, the characters are bland and one-dimensional, the dialogue is uninteresting, and most of the acting is terrible. The score in my opinion, only served to try to keep the audience awake because it was really loud and the filmmakers knew they had a snooze fest on their hands. Robert Pattinson keeps picking mediocre movies to be in and this one was certainly no exception. He is stiff and wooden throughout the whole film and he made for a really uninteresting main character. The movie's main focus seemed to be him being a womanizer and sleeping with a bunch of women and none of the sex scenes served no purpose to the story or the plot and it made it feel like a softcore porn. The story of Robert Pattinson trying to become a journalist became a bore right from the start and it later became sidelined to him having marriage issues and I couldn't wait for the movie to finally end. There are things that happen with little to no motivation at all and by the time those "things" happen, you are already bored out of your mind watching it. The only aspects I could possibly complement are the costumes and Uma Thurman and Christina Ricci trying their best to work their way through this crappy material, but those things aren't even enough to bump it up to one star for me. In the end, I am done talking about this film and I wish I could erase it from my mind forever.
½ February 19, 2015
Robert Pattinson in 19th century Paris might sound like a dream come true to some; but if the audience expects to do anything more than just oogle at the beauty of that scenario, then they will surely come away most disappointed.

The story is about a cad, down on his luck until a chance meeting presents him with a golden opportunity. Pattinson sleepwalks his way through a gauntlet of bedroom scenes with various cast members, as his character proves more and more repulsive.

I found it difficult to identify with, or champion, any of the characters; which in my mind always makes for a lacklustre story. Christina Ricci's character came closest of all to winning me over, but they are all game players in a rather tedious and childish game.

I side with the critics on this one. Pattinson needs more than just a pretty face to carry a film. His weaknesses are heavily exposed by this script, which limply slips right off his shoulders.
February 15, 2015
Intriguing but a useless concept. I guess I was expecting a better storyline for the era that it was in.
December 10, 2014
Hate the story, but the acting was mostly strong.
December 3, 2014
Watching this movie was a mistake. I was either bored or confused.
October 23, 2014
WOW.....WOW.....WOW....WOW....WOW....SO SO SO SO BAD....MAN THIS MOVIE IS JUST SO COMPLETLEY DREADFUL 2 WATCH, MAN THIS IS SUCH N AWFUL MOVIE 2 WATCH, ITS GOT A GOOD CAST THROUGHOUT THIS MOVIE BUT I THINK THAT THEY WERE ALL WASTED THROUGHOUT THIS MOVIE.....I FEEL LIKE THIS MOVIE WAS RUSHED ABOUT A LITTLE BIT, IT IS SUCH AN AWFUL MOVIE 2 WATCH.....I THINK THAT CHRISTINA RICCI WAS ABSOLUTLEY BRILLIANT THROUGHOUT THIS MOVIE BUT THIS MOVIE IS SO SO SO SO SO BAD, ITS GOT A REALLY REALLY WEAK SCRIPT THROUGHOUT THIS MOVIE. IT IS SUCH AN AWFUL MESSY WEAK MOVIE 2 WATCH, ITS GOT A GOOD SOUNDTRACK THROUGHOUT THIS MOVIE, BUT MAN THIS IS SUCH AN AWFUL MESSY MESSY MOVIE IT IS SO SO SO BAD, IT IS SUCH AN AWFUL MOVIE 2 WATCH, IT IS SO SO SO SO BAD, JUST AVOID THIS MOVIE AT ALL COSTS IT IS THAT DREADFUL MOVIE 2 WATCH, IT IS SO SO BAD IT IS SUCH AN AWFUL WASTE OF A MOVIE......
½ September 29, 2014
Wow this is a piece of junk as well as Pattinson's acting
½ September 20, 2014
brilliant performances but a dull pointless movie with a skeleton plot that ultimately makes you wish you didnt bother
September 10, 2014
I thought Robert Pattinson was a good actor with bad luck, ending up in Twilight and all. But it's not the movie what makes the actor...
August 23, 2014
It's esoteric and psychological. I dig it.
½ August 13, 2014
Being uninterested in Pattinson as a vampire, teenage heart-throb, I thought myself unbiased and ready to appreciate his acting skills. Unfortunately, this movie did not reveal any.

Pattinson plays Georges Duroy, a penniless ex-NCO, who seduces and manipulates rich women despite a complete lack of wit or endowments. Besides not showing any of the charisma required by the part, Pattinson's rough features add further hindrance. The role would have suited an actor of refined handsomeness, to make the contrast with Georges personality even more striking. What we get instead is Pattinson's boxer nose, coupled with a flat delivery of his lines. It makes it hard to believe that so many women would find him irresistible

The story follows Duroy meeting in a brothel Forestier, a former comrade. For reasons impossible to understand, Forestier invites him to dinner and ends up offering Georges a job. During this dinner Georges meets three women willing to be manipulated like puppets, despite the fact that they all seem smarter than Georges.

The first is Clotilde is a rich, dizzy married woman, who just wants to be Georges lover at all costs. For their first sexual encounter, Georges invites her to his squalid abode and Clotilde decides to rent an expensive love nest to continue their relationship.

Madeleine is Forestier's wife, played by Thurman. She is an independent, clever woman who ends up marrying Georges, although she had absolutely no reason whatsoever to do so. Their relation is completely inexplicable.

Mme Rousset, played by Scott Thomas, is a middle aged married woman who loses her head for the completely charm-free Georges. The seduction scene that involves the two of them is cringe-inducing.

Finally, a fourth woman also falls for Georges, making the whole movie a sequel of sexual encounters strangely lacking any passion. Not bad for a boy who would hardly get a second glance, but incredibly tedious as a movie plot.
July 10, 2014
"World where politics and media jostle for influence, where sex is power and celebrity an obsession"
That's a great word for it!
½ March 31, 2014
did I just see Uma Thurman literally LITERALLY raping Robert Pattinson (...)?
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