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Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Gemma Bovery (Blu-ray) (2014)

Gemma Bovery (Blu-ray) (2014)

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Released 2-Sep-2015

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy / Drama Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 99:11
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Anne Fontaine

Shock Entertainment
Starring Gemma Arterton
Fabrice Luchini
Jason Flemyng
Isabelle Candelier
Else Zylberstein
Pip Torrens
Niel Schneider
Mel Raido

Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Bruno Coulais

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English (Burned In) Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

"There is a moment when life imitates art"

     Seven years previously Martin Joubert (Fabrice Luchini) had left a stressful publishing job in Paris to return, with his wife Valerie (Isabelle Candelier) and teenaged son, to the small village in Normandy where he had been born to take over his father’s bakery. Joubert had left Paris seeking a peaceful and balanced life in the country but seven years later he is in a rut. One of Joubert’s pleasures is his admiration for Gustave Flaubert, for this is the same village where the writer had completed his classic novel Madame Bovary and so Joubert is very excited when an English couple named Bovery move into the house across the road.

     The couple are Gemma Bovery (Gemma Arterton) and her furniture restoring husband Charlie (Jason Flemyng). Joubert takes it upon himself to be Gemma’s guide to bread, and things French, although also welcoming the Boverys to the village is the eccentric Frenchwoman Wizzy (Else Zylberstein) and her English husband Mark Rankin (Pip Torrens). Gemma, however, quickly becomes disillusioned with the discomforts of country living, including field mice in the house, a leaking roof, peeling walls and unpredictable electrical wiring. Joubert senses her unhappiness and becomes obsessed with the much younger woman but is aghast when Gemma commences a sexual affair with Herve (Niel Schneider), the young son of the prominent local de Bressigny family. Joubert begins to draw parallels between the conduct of M. Bovary in the novel, who was abandoned by her lover and committed suicide, and Gemma, and fearing for Gemma he takes it upon himself to break up the affair. But his efforts, while successful on the surface, only precipitate a further crisis in Gemma’s life involving the return of Patrick (Mel Raido), a previous lover of Gemma’s who had dumped her for another woman.

     Gemma Bovery is co-written and directed by Frenchwoman Anne Fontaine (who was nominated for a BAFTA for Coco avant Chanel (2009)), based on an English graphic novel by Posy Simmonds. Like Gemma, who admits she has not read Madame Bovary, there is no need to be familiar with the Flaubert novel to follow the film because the character of Joubert basically takes us through the connections and parallels, although the ending of the film delivers somewhat of a twist. Indeed, the film starts at the end; we know something sad has happened to Gemma but are not told what it is and from there the film proceeds in flashback told mainly via the narration of Joubert plus Gemma’s diary.

     Gemma Bovery is amusing and witty yet it has an underlay of sadness and melancholy. The film is helped immensely by the performance of Gemma Arterton in the title role. Arterton was a temporary Bond girl who came to a bad end in Quantum of Solace (2008) and I enjoyed her as an action heroine in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013). In Gemma Bovery she shows she can have a delicate touch: she is charming and captivating, sweet and sexy with a beautiful smile and it is not hard to see why Gemma Bovery gets the attention she does. Fabrice Luchini is an experienced actor. Over time he has been nominated for 9 French Césars, winning one back in 1994 for best supporting actor in Tout ca . . . pour ca!, but his Joubert seems too low key to be the driving force behind the events of the film. On the other hand I enjoyed Else Zylberstein (who has won a César best supporting actress for I’ve Loved You So Long (Il y a longtemps que je t’aime (2008)) because she steals her scenes with marvellous exuberance.

     Gemma Bovery is quite talky and literary, indeed too literary for some, but I enjoyed the implications within the screenplay, the scenery of the Normandy countryside and the acting, especially the charismatic Gemma Arterton.

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Transfer Quality


     Gemma Bovery is presented in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     The print has good detail and the colours are nice and natural, without that digital flatness or glossiness. Skin tones are also natural, blacks and shadow detail fine, brightness and contrast consistent.

     There is some very minor motion blur but marks and other artefacts are absent.

     Burnt in white English subtitles, which cannot be removed, translate the French dialogue which would be annoying for French speakers. They were timely and error free.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     The audio is French DTS-HD MA 5.1, although there are substantial sections of the film in English.

     Dialogue was clear and easy to understand. This is not a film that required an enveloping audio track, and indeed other than some ambient effects such as rain and the wind, and the music, the rears were silent. The subwoofer was likewise silent except for some fireworks towards the end of the film.

     The original score by Bruno Coulais, supported by some classical music and some modern songs, was effective.

     There are no lip synchronisation issues.

     The audio was low key, which is all it was required to be.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Theatrical Trailer (1:20)

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region B UK Blu-ray of Gemma Bovery is not yet released. The French Region B release includes a making of (20 min) although while the feature is advertised as having English subtitles I cannot say if the extra does. The Region A US Blu-ray, as far as I can tell, looks to be similar to our release.


     Gemma Bovery has had mixed reviews but it is a delightful, funny, literate and sad film driven by a captivating performance from the excellent Gemma Arterton in the title role.

     The video and audio are fine. A trailer is the only extra.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, September 28, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE