Bel Ami Reviews

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By Indiwire (Via: Larry411) :

It makes perfect sense that Rob Pattinson would continue his attempts to broaden his fan base as the "Twilight" franchise nears its end. Starring in a new film adaptation of Guy de Maupassant’s 1885 novel "Bel Ami" certainly advances that project: Playing Georges Duroy, an unscrupulous ex-soldier who makes his way up the ladder of Parisian high society by seducing the wives of powerful men, adds a few strings to his bow.



But Pattinson himself is a problem as Duroy. He displays the character’s ruthlessness adequately and his wolfish smile is a useful weapon in his regard. But he seems ill-at-ease in terms of playing a period role. It’s not that he’s a bad actor, but he looks very much a contemporary young man in a historical context; his body language is too casual and informal for the social circles in which Duroy makes his moves. (The thought occurs that his next role, playing a young Manhattan money-market tycoon in David Cronenberg’s adaptation of Don deLillo’s "Cosmopolis," should suit Pattinson down to the ground.)

As for "Bel Ami," the R-Patz fan community may well investigate it out of curiosity – and it certainly shows their idol in more explicit situations than they’ve seen before. But it’s unlikely to appeal greatly to them; in truth, it’s skewed to older audiences, who may appreciate the themes underlying de Maupassant’s story without them being explicitly spelled out.

You can read the complete review HERE

By Variety (Via: Larry411) :

"I had no conception of the depths of your emptiness!" a character shrieks in "Bel Ami," and her words take on an unintended resonance as addressed to Robert Pattinson in the lead role. Displaying little in the way of wily self-assurance, charisma or gravitas, the "Twilight Saga" heartthrob doesn't exactly invigorate this flailing English-language adaptation of Guy de Maupassant's much-filmed novel about a handsome scoundrel seducing his way up the social ladder in 19th-century Paris. Showy cast and costume-drama frippery will draw some patrons, but word of mouth won't be amiable enough to push the picture beyond arthouse love nests.

But it's one thing to embody a moral void, quite another to look merely vacant, and in scene after scene, Pattinson registers a visible strain in negotiating the character's shifts from slick, droll charm to animal-like desperation and thwarted rage. The sort of self-styled gentleman who should theoretically be able to stroll into a room and mesmerize everyone in it by sheer force of personality, this Duroy instead seems to be constantly referring to mental notes from "Ladykilling for Dummies" as he mystifyingly wends his way into the sympathies of three well-married women.

You can read the complete review HERE

From THR (Via: Larry411)

We get Georges’ number in early glimpses of Pattinson glowering at the shabby walls of his cramped apartment or enviously watching the Paris swells. He’s at his most expressive when clobbering a cockroach to death. But there’s no inner life in the miscast actor’s one-dimensional characterization. He lacks the fundamental guile for the role, played in one of the best-known previous versions (1947’s The Private Affairs of Bel Ami) by the inimitably supercilious George Sanders.

Pattinson is without gravitas, and while the women are generally more watchable, he has little chemistry with any of them. Thurman maintains a strained poise and haughty superiority even when Madeleine is humiliated. Ricci isn’t the most natural fit for a late-19th century European, though her vulnerability is a welcome note, and Scott Thomas deserves better than the undignified treatment her character receives.

You can read the complete review HERE

Great Review for Bel Ami | From Cineuropa/by Bénédicte Prot:

The film’s decor is rich in details, from the flowers on the wall to the bed sheets. Donnellan and Ormerod’s actors shine in this satire of a vile and corrupt society in which we recognise today’s vices, to the point that the seductive young man that we meet at the beginning of the film ends up seeming absolutely despicable. Their film shows the cynicism of the novel Bel-Ami, and is adapted with loyalty and such human and social realism that it remains extremely relevant today.

It’s not by chance that Guy de Maupassant’s novel Bel-Ami (in English also called The history of a scoundrel: a novel), first published in the magazine Gil Blas as a series of episodes, keeps popping up on the silver screen. His character Georges Duroy, a handsome and ambitious young man in Paris during the Belle Epoque, who navigates between debauchery at the Folies Bergères and politics, capitalism, and scandals in the city’s salons, is eternally fascinating. Bel Ami [trailer] by the British directors Declan Donnellan et Nick Ormerod features a handsome yet unashamedly lecherous Robert Pattinson who does not hide his humble origins, but neither masks his ferocious ambition to escape his lack of fortune.

To succeed in 1885, you don’t need talent but connections. Thus, at the beginning of the film, when Georges comes across Charles Forestier, the editor-in-chief of La Vie Française, he does not hesitate to remind him that they served together in Algeria, and unblinkingly accepts a few coins to buy an evening outfit without which he cannot decently accept his dinner invitation.
That very night, this falsely candid young man, who lives in a tiny maid’s room, starts his social ascension all guns blazing. At the dinner hosted by Forestier, he meets three women who will soon nickname him “Bel Ami”, “Handsome Friend” in English, and in turn (then simultaneously) each serve him as stepping stones. Very theatrically, the directors successivley seat each of these three very different beauties in front of him.

First there is the cold Madeleine Forestier (Uma Thurman) whose independence and determination are almost masculine, even if she explains to him that in Paris it’s the women who are in charge and that she will never be his mistress even if she will help him and even write his articles for him. The fresh Clotilde de Marelle (Christina Ricci) is very different from her friend Madeleine. She confesses to prefer frivolity to politics, and is the one to spontaneously make George’s first arrangement, as everything here works through connections and arrangements, by meeting him in a furnished apartment for which she will pay. Finally, Virginie Rousset (Kristin Scott Thomas), older and not such a good negociator, remains more discreet until she falls madly in love with Georges, and leaks information on possible insider trading to him, only to be inflicted with the worst of broken hearts in return.

From one woman to the next, even if we do briefly believe that “Bel Ami” might truly love Clothilde then Madeleine who he ends up marrying, we soon realise that he is not these ladies’ new toy, or even their gigolo as it might appear, but instead a foul opportunist who would do anything to climb the social ladder, with his greedy, pretentious, and Machiavellian pout.

The film’s decor is rich in details, from the flowers on the wall to the bed sheets. Donnellan and Ormerod’s actors shine in this satire of a vile and corrupt society in which we recognise today’s vices, to the point that the seductive young man that we meet at the beginning of the film ends up seeming absolutely despicable. Their film shows the cynicism of the novel Bel-Ami, and is adapted with loyalty and such human and social realism that it remains extremely relevant today.

Thank you, Ms. Prot, for not leading with a bitter bias against a character and film that has nothing to do with Bel Ami.

Also, AltFilmGuide wasn't swayed by the negative reviews. An excerpt:

So far, I've only watched Bel Ami's "extended scenes" — a 12-minute series of clips posted online about a week ago. Needless to say, it's impossible to judge a feature film by that. Yet, my first impression of Bel Ami was highly positive. Pattinson looked perfectly convincing both in terms of looks and demeanor as Duroy, while Kristin Scott Thomas was flawless in her two scenes as the older woman who falls for the wily younger man (Chang found Scott Thomas "wincingly miscast.")

Anyhow, bad Variety review or no, Bel Ami remains one of my most eagerly anticipated movies of 2012. Part of the reason is the cast, particularly Pattinson and Scott Thomas; but I'm also curious to see how screenwriter Rachel Bennette and first-time (film) directors Nick Ormerod and Declan Donnellan have transferred Guy de Maupassant's novel to the screen. And whether in terms of its theme and characters (i.e., shameless sex/seduction) and setting, the fact that Bel Ami isn't a Hollywood production is a plus as far as I'm concerned. Indeed, Ormerod and Donnellan's movie does look good. That's another plus.

Via unpetitepeuUKtinakal4 | Robsessed

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