Robert Pattinson stars in new drama, Bel Ami, which follows a young man’s journey to wealth. This is a very different role to his normal parts in which he normally plays a good guy, so did he do the role of Georges justice?
I have to admit I did want to see the film due to the gorgeous Rob and I was hugely surprised when the screen was barely full. I don’t think Bel Ami has had much press coverage, I haven’t seen the trailer on the TV for example. Bel Ami is based on a book that was written in the 18th century by French author, Guy De Maupassant. The film begins with a poor Georges trying his luck in Paris and bumping into an old friend Charles (Phillip Glenister) who takes pity on him and invites him over to meet his wife, Madeline, who is played by Uma Thurman. He also meets unhappily married Clotilde (Christina Ricci) who he immediately starts an intimate affair with. They soon gain a love nest and we can see an instant attraction between the pair.
He also works on the paper after gaining a job through Charles but we soon see that he can barely write. Madeline attempts to help him and we can see an attraction between the pair although she makes it clear she is no one’s mistress and lets Georges know that the woman have the power in Paris. When Charles gets ill, Georges goes to visit him and Madeline and sees the poor man die (This is quite hard to watch). However as Madeline grieves her husband, barely a few minutes since he died, Georges makes his intention that he would like to marry her! This was quite shocking considering Charles was barely cold and had been a good friend to Georges.
However we soon see married life is not as he hoped when Madeline barely wants to spend any intimate time with him and is more interested in how they should be taking down Morocco. One scene is where he basically begs her to become intimate with him and she does it so quickly even Georges looks in pain. When he starts to believe she is having an affair with her friend who visits every Tuesday, he falls back into the arms of Clotilde who deep down he truly loves. However, when his boss Rousset played by Colm Meaney finds out he can’t write well at all, he has to go and bribe his wife Virginie (Kristen Scott Thomas) who falls for Georges embarrassingly and gets him his job back. He has to seduce her in a church and she then turns into a puppy dog, desperate to be with him although she repulses him.
We soon learn from Virginie that Rousset has gone against Georges and will be earning millions and Georges is devastated to find out that Madeline also knew about this. Leaving her and being shunned out of the community, he ends up back with Clotilde who loves him whatever the circumstances. Getting a divorce from Madeline, he soon pursuits Rousset’s young daughter Suzanne played by Holliday Grainger who falls for him as he is the only one she can’t have. When Georges sets it up as if the pair have slept together, he has to marry her much to the devastation of Virginie and the horror of Rousset who knows the fortune will go to Georges. Although Clotilde is devastated, she nods at the end to show she will continue her affair with Georges as Georges smiles at the fact he will get everything he wants.
The film was different to what I expected and I think that the entire cast played their parts well. It was quite hard to follow sometimes and I was often confused who was related to who. I was disappointed that Georges didn’t end up with Clotilde who loved him the most and It was hard to like a character who would ultimately end up ruining a young girls life (Suzanne). I think the women especially Kristen Scott Thomas played their parts incredibly well and I enjoyed Rob’s performance, although he wasn’t playing a very likeable character. I thought it was quite weird to see him with these older women considering he is only 25 (Christina is 32, Uma is in her 40’s and Kristen is in her 50’s) and I thought the part should of been played perhaps by an older male.
Although I don’t think I would watch it again, I do think it’s worth seeing if you like romance, obsession and costume dramas!