Gemma Bovery

29/03/2017 20:00.
Cert 15

In this light-hearted retelling of Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary by graphic artist Posy Simmonds we see Gemma (Gemma Arterton) and her husband relocate from England to rural Normandy. Gemma at first embraces all things French, but ultimately finds her new lifestyle dull. A neighbour becomes fascinated by her and the close similarity of her name to the famous tragic heroine, and seeks to warn her of her destiny. (Cert 15)
Dir: Anne Fontaine 99mins UK 2014

Doors open at 7.00pm for this joint event with Abingdon and District Twin Towns Society. It is in the main programme and is covered by your subscription — (food & drink extra). Film starts at 7.45pm approx.

Programme Notes

Based on Posy Simmonds’ eponymous graphic novel of 1999 (originally serialised in the Guardian), tonight’s film has Gallic charmer Fabrice Luchini hit the spot exactly as Martin Joubert, a well-heeled ex-Parisian academic overpassionate about Gustave Flaubert, who has settled down in a Normandy village to life as a baker. He is married to the long-suffering Valerie (Isabelle Candelier).

One day, he notices that an English couple has moved into a small farmhouse across the street. They are called Gemma and Charlie Bovery, and their behaviour and mannerisms seem to him inspired by his Flaubertian heroes. Martin is immediately hooked and fascinated by Gemma, whose burgeoning romantic liaisons remind him of Flaubert’s tragic heroine Emma Bovary.

Gemma Arterton (Gemma Bovery) and Jason Flemyng (Charlie Bovery) are perfectly cast for their roles in this highly amusing, light-as-air divertissement from co-writer/director Anne Fontaine. A civilised minor pleasure, the film is entertaining and likeable but really it’s Luchini’s and Arterton’s exquisitely judged performances that make their characters’ motivations so believable.

Derek Winnert,
Angus Wolfe-Murray, EyeforFilm

“Like a nap in a Normandy field on an August afternoon, Gemma Bovery is a serene [ … ] experience”
Eric Hillis, A Movie Waffler

Martin Joubert – Fabrice Luchini
Gemma Bovery – Gemma Arterton
Charlie Bovery – Jason Flemyng
Herve de Bressigny – Niels Schneider
Valerie Joubert – Isabelle Candelier
Director – Anne Fontaine
Producer – Philippe Carcassonne et al.
Screenplay – Anne Fontaine, Pascal Bonitzer
Cinematography – Christophe Beaucarne
Original Music – Bruno Coulais


  • Very funny
  • Very entertaining and beautifully done
  • Rollicking good fun – and intelligent, too!
  • These classic tales are just so hard to beat!
  • Crazy but delightful – and so delicately told
  • Brilliant for end of season
  • Wonderful – but how did the baker run that shop?
  • Most enjoyable but Dr Heimlich would have been disappointed
  • Well structured
  • Hard to believe that some one called Bovery had not read the book. Great acting by Luchini but all the others a bit weak
  • A complex plot and a surprising ending. Would I have understood it better if I’d read Madame Bovary?
  • Perhaps I should now read the book!
  • The film was the BBC4 equivalent of mindless, lowest common denominator, culture-clash comedy. Whilst Arterton was cast for her film-fan appeal, a la Tamara Drewe, the main story dragged on too long, with its cringe-worthy innuendo jokes. The open ending was the best comedy moment of the entire film. Made one want for a sequel – and some French bread!
  • Poll Flinders has just moved in next door!


A:22, B:17, C:6, D:0, E:0 to give 84% from 60% of those present.