Customer Reviews: Bel Ami
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on May 4, 2012
It is tragic that this movie was so far underpublicized by the production team and, consequently, did not find it's audience. The performances are all superb. The film is visually stunning. The story is intriguing and moves you quickly from love to hate and back again for all of the characters. A diamond in the rough sadly not getting to the masses.

Robert Pattinson's turn as Georges DuRoy will have you loving and hating the man in equal measure, often careening from one to the other in the space of seconds. While, sadly, the book-to-film translation of all of DuRoy's nuances isn't quite fully realized due mostly to some rushing of material, Pattinson's portrayal of the sympathetic blackheart leaves you not knowing if you want to kiss him or shoot him. He moves effortlessly from moments of astonishing vulnerability to shere cold-hearted bastard status and right back again. He brings a sympathy for George's plight which I honestly felt was impossible after reading the novel.

Colm Meaney is the standout of the supporting cast, playing the calculating Rousset to perfection, making you hate the man even as he suffers his final defeat. The standout among Georges' leading ladies is absolutley Christina Ricci as the long-suffering Clothilde. She is simultaneously wide-eyed innocent and worldly temptress and gives reason to Georges' softer moments. Uma Thurman plays Mme Forrestier with a wit that is unexpected and has the pleasure of being the source of one of the most uncomfortably ironic moments of the film.

The film itself is a visual feast, with wonderful costumes and sets, each themselves giving you a second lense through which to view DuRoy's accension. The adaptation of the original novel could go deeper into examining the media influence on political climates. But, in choosing to focus more on DuRoy's tumultuous circumstances, it is the cast that carries the movie, especially Robert Pattinson. His portrayal of DuRoy is what makes this story direction work. A weaker actor could not have done that.
33 comments| 76 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
If you've read the book you know it's pretty dastardly, that is if you can suffer through the awkward translations available.

The initial movie seems a bit slow which affects your investment in the characters. But somewhere in the middle it starts to take off and I felt that the actors, especially Rob Pattinson found their footing, which made the rest of the film quite interesting. I will take exception on some of the panning and focus shots they did on the characters at times. It reminded me of an Oscar Wilde comedy, a bit out of context for this genre of film.

Cristina Ricci did a phenomenal job as always as did Kristen Scott Thomas. However, I felt Uma Thurman a bit out of place. She is by all means a talented actress but I believe miscast for this role. It somehow threw the balance off, especially since I thought her a bit over acting in her character, and her exaggerated annunciation of French annoyed.

Several times I thought that Rob Pattinson looked, how shall I put this......not as good looking or "dandy" as one would have expected. But I think it is a testimony to his interpretation of the character George Duroy who, perhaps is supposed to be quite "bel" physically but in actuality is a miserable person inside.

Epic film? No. But worth a rental.
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on May 7, 2012
Based on the novel by Guy de Maupassant this movie is a drastic turn from Robert Pattinson's performance in the Twilight Saga. Set in 19th century France and Georges Duroy's(Pattinson)quest for fortune bring Pattinson's acting skill to a new level. Stellar performances by Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman and Christina Ricci. A must see for those who love any of the actors in the film.
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on July 10, 2012
I liked the movie and I pick movies apart. The connection was great and this was the first time for me to use the movie amazon process. The only disadvantage in the online process was that if you wanted to go back and listen to something you missed it took a few seconds to rewind back but nothing drastic. Here is my honest opinion of the film. Just remember that everyone has an opinion. I cannot say without being honest that Robert Pattinson did not embed the character fully until about half way through the film. But one cannot deny this man has talent. At the time, you are looking at a 23 year old man with limited experience in portraying adult males. I think considering all, he can hold his head up with pride. The viewer can see that there was definite ease between Ricci and Pattinson because their performances flowed and I give Ricci credit, she performed well off of Pattinson. I feel that Thomas gave an outstanding performance as well. She flowed great with Pattinson. That love scene between Pattinson and Thomas was exceptional! It displayed the pure callousness of Pattinson's character and the starved mature woman's need for affectionate worth. Ricci pulled off her character's need for sexual enrichment and you get Pattinson's connection with this woman and how she expects little back by placing very little demands on him. In my opinion, which is like belly buttons, everyone has one, Thurman was a miscast. Her performance wasn't really the issue, she did well with the character, however, she wasn't as receptive to Pattinson, as if there was a hidden reluctance to let go, which also seemed to bar him a little. Also, Thurman's raspy voice gives less than a gentile female ora. Her blonde hair also fails to promote a sense of intelligence because if anything, Thurman's character was brilliant in both common and learning sense. Actually, Thurman and Pattinson's characters share commonalities. Now to me the greatest disappointment of this movie had nothing at all to do with the actors because, it was pulled off in the end by the actors. It was held in the hands of the director who controlled the cinematography. I am a lover of period films and I cannot imagine this movie with its set budget and the director's attention to beautiful period details to help transport you back to Paris 1800s, only then to trash all that work by staying close up on most of the shots. Mentally, you couldn't move into that century for lack of visual reference to make the actors believable that they really are in Paris of 1800. I loved Thomas and Pattinson's shot at the flower cart on the street and the awesome church scene. Excellent scenes and performances! Same with Thurman and Pattinson's Cannes scenes. Loved Pattinson's scene when entering in his home asking the location of his wife to their butler. All were enhanced by the beautiful visual setting. You cannot fail to brag on Meaney, Grainger, and Glenister who were also perfectly cast and played out their characters wonderfully. I read a review that assailed Pattinson for not having the acting chops to pull off an 1800's Parisian gentleman. This person clearly missed the character. Duroy wasn't a gentleman by birth at all and Pattinson did portray this clearly of Duroy, as well as, development of this gentleman nature in the character the more the character was exposed to the environment of the rich. Maybe the director should have emphasized this developing change by the desire and intent in Pattinson's character more in the movie verbally. Pattinson pulled it off that Duroy was young, impulsive, selfish, vindictive, sensually driven. lazy and callous. He played off well with most of the characters in the movie. There was only a small amount of over dramatic performing in one scene, the one with all the men at the table at the newspaper office, where he is annoyed and tempered. But by the same token who can deny the wonderful anger performance with Thomas and Pattinson, and the scene where Pattinson orders them all from his house. Excellent acting on Pattinson's part, as well as, his counterparts.! If you like period films, this movie will entertain you. Those who are spitting at Pattinson for thinking he is only an Edward Twilight character, well, shame on you! This man pulled off an excellent performance in Remember Me and can be considered solid in that he pulled off this movie at such a young age. I feel he has talent and will be like wine with time. He will have a fine taste as vintage manifest. Pattinson has the talent to be one of the greats of his time if he plays his cards right. He will be vintage. This coming from a non Twihard and someone who believes that Pattinson deserves a fair chance to perform without being ostracized for an outstanding performance he did in a franchise movie. Watching Pattinson's performance develop in this movie and seeing Remember Me, I just imagine, Edward Cullen, was a less than challenging role for this man. You need to see this man in the character he is portraying on the screen while you are watching the movie and let go of Edward.
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on May 6, 2012
There's been so little marketing for this movie in the U.S. (What's up with that, Magnolia Films?) that I wasn't expecting much. I rented this anyway, mostly out of curiousity and because I enjoyed the book. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the film. The actors were well-suited to their roles and the costuming and sets were absolutely delicious (and true to period). The movie did feel a little "rushed" to me; the screenplay relied so heavily on dialogue to provide the exposition that, if you missed a line, you could miss 4 months in the lives of the characters. Since I am familiar with the book, this was less of an issue for me but it's the reason I gave the film 4 stars instead of 5.

Well worth the $9.99 I paid to rent this, especially since Amazon gives me 48 hours to watch (as opposed to the 24 hours on iTunes) and without the 2-hour "download" required elsewhere. I plan to watch again tonight! :-)
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on June 14, 2012
The title of the review pretty much sums it up. It's often difficult with movies like these to write reviews. Unfortunately, I find myself separating it into separate pieces and averaging my rating between the acting versus the quality of the story. I can easily give a five star thumbs up for the superb acting, setting, costumes, etc. However, the story, makes me moan, frankly, and I cautiously hand over one star. In the end, we're left with three.

Let's face it, Duroy is not a character you really fall in love with. Oh, yes, he's attractive, sexy, dreamy-eyed, able to seduce women with a single sly grin, and is everything you want in bed from a tender lover to a rough aggressive bad boy. You understand the following about the man, besides his inability to keep his manhood in check, that he grew up poor, isn't very bright, and isn't respected by other men. You quickly learn as well that he doesn't possess much of a conscience or a heart, and uses the lives of others for his own gain. I guess that's where the character type of "scoundrel" enters in Bel Ami.

The one thing that struck me about the movie was the entire time you're watching it, you are really not privy to the inward thoughts of Duroy and his motivations. You watch his dark brooding, drunken binges, his narrowing gaze, and outbursts of anger and make your own conclusion as to what makes him tick as a man. Besides being a morally loose rake, with no conscience bedding three women at once, he comes across as a relatively ignorant and despised man in his social circle.

Finally, at the end of the movie, you are suddenly given a glimpse into the deep musings and inward workings of his dark heart. It's here that he reveals it's not enough to be loved. He doesn't want to scrape through life, like his father in poverty while praying for a better life in the next world. There is no next world. We rot in the grave. Better to grab it in the here and now rather than to hope for something that will never come. Of course, as a scoundrel, that's the only way he knows how to gain what he wants in life. His next step is to marry a woman he doesn't love (and I seriously doubt the man has the capacity or ability to love), so he can live rich. I probably should take lessons from this sod how to make male characters in my next book so despicable.

Well, like millions of Parisians of that day, he probably would have contracted syphilis and died an early death never able to enjoy his gain. Wealth he would have obtained, but no doubt respect and status never arrived alongside.

In any event, the movie is a mixed bag because of the story and unlovable character you really don't want to romp in the sack with at all.
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on September 8, 2012
I am a fan of quite a few of the actors in this piece, so after hearing about the project development and filming I was excited to finally be able to see the finished product.

This was a case where the actors did a phenominal job in delivering believable characters that fit the story line. But unfortunately the final product was lacking due to the film techniques or lack there of and it seemed the cutting room floor should have had a few more pieces lying on it as parts of the film just seemed to drag.

I am glad I waited for this on DVD. I will keep it because again I am a fan of Uma Thurman, Mr. Pattinson and Ms. Ricci as well.

But when I hold Bel Ami side by side with my Sense & Sensibility, Becoming Jane, Pride & Prejudice... basically my historical film collection, it's sadly in last place.

Bel Ami
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on May 5, 2012
Thank You Amazon for the pre-release of Bel Ami! We appreciate it so much. I have been waiting patiently for this movie to come out for over a year! To see it before it is even released in theatres is awesome and well worth the wait. The movie was great. Of course I read the book so I must say it was very easy for me to follow. Robert Pattinson as usual did an out standing job, and is as gorgeous as ever. All the acting was great and the storyline followed true to Guy de Maupassants George Duroy. I liked it so well that if it shows in my area, I will be the first in line to go see it.. Watch this movie in a theatre near you on June 8th when it will be released to the public.. Great movie
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on September 10, 2012
Having read this book before the movie came out, I was curious to see just how manipulative and hateful George DuRoy would be on screen. In the book, I wanted to stone him. In the movie though, I felt different. Seeing him watch others dining in luxury while he had a dried crust of bread to share with the roaches, gave me a little sympathy for our dastardly womanizing cad. There was no broodiness to our main character; no sullen unfeeling man at all. His interaction with Kristen Scott Thomas had me cowering in my seat while his tenderness with Christina Ricci made me think he was no cad at all. There were some parts that were in the book that I would have liked to see in the film, too bad those were left on the cutting room floor. By the time this movie was finished, I was rooting for the bad guy. How's that for the power of cinema? I recommend it for those who love a good period film; the costuming is perfect, the details do not go un-noticed. Robert Pattinson is great as the lead and the fact that he shares this film with three lovely and talented actresses alone makes it worth purchasing.
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on July 20, 2012
Whoever decided this needed to be released as a Pre-theatrical missed the boat! Robert Pattinson was absolutely wonderful in this role. He is a superb actor and never fails to deliver. I would have loved to see this at the theater although my daughters 10' HD projection system did do it justice. Highly recommend this movie - and I will probably purchase it when it comes out on DVD.
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