Several Bel Ami Reviews from the Berlin Film Festival

Here are some Bel Ami reviews. Don’t forget that everyone has their own opinion and critics can be harsh..

From Screendaily:

Bel Ami has the feeling of a film that can’t quite decide on its structure and central story.

Reluctant heartthrob Robert Pattinson makes a brave stab at the immoral and manipulative Georges Duroy – the ‘Bel Ami’ of the title – and while his good looks and intense charisma may win over Twihards, the film may have a tough task finding an easy marketplace. Kristin Scott Thomas and Christina Ricci impress as Parisian ladies who are won over by Duroy’s charm, though Uma Thurman as his Machiavellian equal lacks the charm to convince in her demanding period role. R-Patz fans seeking a bodice-ripping costume romance will be disappointed.

But the film may well find a market in the harder-to-break area of the older generation who may well appreciate the film’s political complexities and graceful design.

Guy de Maupassant 19th century novel has been adapted for the screen before, most famously in Albert Lewin’s stylish 1947 film The Private Affairs Of Bel Ami, which starred a cultured George Saunders in the lead role (and included Angela Lansbury and Ann Dvorak as some of the women left in his wake). This adaptation is jointly directed by Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod, making their feature debut, who are known in theatrical circles for founding the avant garde theatre company Cheek by Jowl.

Read the rest of the review here

From THR

BERLIN — There are countless brooding shots of Robert Pattinson in Bel Ami, occasionally of him shirtless and invariably drenched in overwrought music. That might titillate the swooning legions of Team Edward Twilight fans, but for the grown-ups, there’s not much here to bite into. Neophyte film directors Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod, with help from Rachel Bennette’s shallow screenplay, have reduced Guy de Maupassant’s portrait of corrupting ambition to a risible bodice-ripper.

Published in 1885, as Maupassant was slowly succumbing to syphilis, the novel centers on Georges Duroy, a handsome young social climber from the provinces, fresh out of the cavalry in Algeria and hungry to make his fortune in belle epoque Paris. Broke and blessed with no discernible talents, he quickly learns that the path to power is not through important men but their influential wives.

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.

When Georges shows his true colors, one of his key stepping stones, Madeleine (Uma Thurman), says, “I had no conception of the depths of your emptiness.” As so often happens in Bennette’s adaptation, she’s stating the obvious. The assessment is aimed at the venal character but applies equally to the charisma-free performance, in which there’s nobody home........

Read the rest of the review here

From Variety

"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.

Already adapted numerous times for film and television (the best known being 1947's "The Private Affairs of Bel Ami," starring George Sanders and Angela Lansbury), Maupassant's 1885 tale centers around Georges Duroy, a cold-blooded, sexually voracious schemer who ascends to a wealthy and influential position in Gallic society. His insatiable need for money and power rooted in an impoverished upbringing, Duroy is supposed to have a chilling blankness at his core by design.

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...........

Read the rest of the review here

Here are also more reviews from The Playlist / Movieline /Indiewire..

via: TOR

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