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Madame Bovary

24 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Nov 11, 2008)
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Editorial Reviews

Gustave Flaubert's controversial novel is brought to life in this classic adaptation by Claude Chabrol starring the "ravishingly erotic" (Newsday) Isabelle Huppert.

Bored with the banalities and emptiness of provincial life in 19th century France, the fiercely sensual Emma Bovary runs up ruinous debts and purses scandalous affairs with passionate abandon. But when her excessive behavior catches up to her, the lives of everyone around her are endangered in this breathtaking film that Rolling Stone hailed as "among the year's best and most provocative films."

Also Includes the Bonus Documentary: Isabelle Huppert: Playing Life

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Isabelle Huppert
  • Directors: Claude Chabrol
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: KOCH Lorber Films
  • DVD Release Date: November 11, 2008
  • Run Time: 143 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,380 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Madame Bovary" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 46 people found the following review helpful By lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 11, 2002
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This is an excellent adaptation of the Gustave Flaubert novel of the same name. Isabelle Huppert is superb as the central character, Emma, a prosperous farmer's daughter, who marries a doctor, Charles Bovary (Jean Francois Balmer). He is a kind and gentle soul who adores her and wants nothing more than to make her happy. The problem is that he does not know how. Even Emma does not really know what would make her happy.

This is the story of Emma Bovary and her unhappy, wasted, shallow life. She is a woman who on the surface seems to have everything, an adoring, doting husband, a lovely, healthy daughter, an attractive well appointed home. Yet, she is unhappy. She loathes her husband, finding him pedantic and dull. She has little time for her daughter and seems to have little motherly instincts. What worldly goods she has never seem to ber enough.

Seeking fulfillment, she takes lovers who always seem to fail her in the end. She mistakes passion for love and never fails to be disappointed when that love turns out to be fleeting, blind to the love that exists under her very own roof. As her unhappiness and dissatisfaction grow, so does the beauty of her wardrobe. Beautifully gowned and accessorized, Emma Bovary is as beautiful as she is shallow. She spends what she does not have on passing fripperies, only to have her world eventually come crashing down around her. She takes the easy way out of her self inflicted misery and, in doing so, consigns those who had the misfortune to truly love her to a doomed existence.

Claude Chabrol deftly directed this arresting period piece, exacting wonderful performances from the entire cast. Isabelle Huppert is perfectly cast as Emma Bovary with her icy beauty and gives a performance that is on the money.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By V. Marshall VINE VOICE on August 31, 2004
Format: DVD
This film is a French adaptation of Gustave Flaubert's classic tale of human bondage, "Madame Bovary."

I expected this adaptation to be better than others I have seen simply because it was done by the French, but sadly the film does not hold up to Flaubert's original work. Isabelle Huppert does a so-so job as the lead character, the great sufferer, Madame Bovary. Huppert does not show enough passion and emotion for my taste though, the original character is consumed by suffering and desperately stabs at whatever form of relief comes her way, but Huppert doesn't quite get any depth out of this performance. She looks lovely in her period costumes however. Madame Bovary succumbed to adultery, debtful spending habits and even suicide while being married to Dr. Bovary and never feeling passionately satisfied with her life. The character is both the ultimate victim of her own circumstances and that of the stigma society held over women of her time. In the classic novel she screams for understanding and compassion but here Huppert only manages to stir a selfish and self-absorbed creature lacking any decent humanity.

Contrasting to the Madame is Dr. Bovary, played decently by Jean-Francois Balmer, who manages to bring a sorrow to the dutiful man who cowers at the Madame's feet. Malavoy is sweet and hardworking much as I imagine the original character to be and also sadly unsuspicious of his wicked wife's activities at his expense. The enigmatic and suave character of Rodolphe Boulanger is played by the handsome and convincing Christophe Malavoy. Malavoy is seductively charming and maliciously evil at the same time, the perfect match for Mrs. Bovary!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Isabel on March 14, 2012
Format: DVD
Finally, the real Madame Bovary!
I saw two other versions, including the BBC version, and they went no further with Emma than to portray her as a spoiled, dissatisfied, passionate child who never really grows up. But Emma is much deeper and more terrifying than that, and maybe harder for us to accept. Emma is not really passionate, and she is not simply spoiled. She is empty. She is filled with a nothingness, a coldness. Yet we are not indifferent towards Emma for this reason. We are endlessly, painfully, horribly sorry for her, as we see that she is haunted by a terrifying solipsism, disconnected from anyone or anything around her. She tries to fill her void with passion, but in the end she is merely feeding off others' love for her, and her quest for true emotion tragically fails. She kills herself because she cannot feel enough, because of an emptiness, not because she feels too much. In other words, don't immediately be turned off by Huppert's coldness. You may find something terrifyingly deep and true about it if you keep watching.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By The Movie Man VINE VOICE on November 15, 2008
Format: DVD
"Madame Bovary," based on the novel by Gustave Flaubert, stars Isabelle Huppert in the title role. Unsuccessfully prosecuted by the French government as "immoral" after its publication in 1857, "Madame Bovary" is the story of a country doctor's wife bored with the banalities and emptiness of her provincial life in 19th-century France. To escape, she throws herself into love affairs with a suave local landowner (Rodolphe Boulanger) and a law student (Leon Dupuis) and runs up huge debts, much to the dismay of her dull husband. The 1991 film, directed by Claude Chabrol, closely follows Flaubert's novel and beautifully captures most of the famous scenes. Filmed in Rouen and neighboring villages, it lavishly evokes 19th-century France with its winding country roads, meadows, and homes. Period costumes complete the portrait of the era. The movie is in French with English subtitles. The two-disc DVD includes the bonus documentary "Isabelle Huppert: A Life of Acting.
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