Bel Ami
Bel Ami

Film Review

Film title
Bel Ami
Declan Donnellan, Nick Ormerod
Robert Pattinson, Christina Ricci, Kristin Scott Thomas, Uma Thurman
Release date
9 Mar

More info

Bel Ami screened at Glasgow Film Festival 2012 and is released nationwide 9 Mar.

GFF 2012: Bel Ami

2/5 stars
Film review by Becky Bartlett.
Published 24 February 2012

Bel Ami, based on a Guy de Maupassant novel, marks the feature debut of directors Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod. The quality of the sets, costumes and cast belies the relatively small budget; Budapest replaces Paris – so, no Eiffel Tower or Moulin Rouge in sight. As the social-climbing George Duroy, Robert Pattinson is expected to carry the film, featuring in every scene.

He undoubtedly looks the part but his determination to be taken seriously as an actor, while admirable, is evident too often, to the detriment of the film's authenticity. The more experienced actresses, particularly doe-eyed Christina Ricci, frequently steal the scenes they share with their leading man. Yet the biggest problem here is the utter lack of passion. As George beds woman after woman, with the specific intent of moving up the social ladder, the seduction is non-existent. So too is the hedonism and debauchery of Paris in the 1890s. George is a hollow character, but it is a shame that the film is too.

Comments (18)

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  • Did u read the Book, George wasn't a passionate Man ....he got chosen from these women because of his looks. All what he cared for was to climb up the ladder in society . Too bad u didn't understand that. Really, he is the one carrying the Movie...did u forget he was 22, I'm so confused , why is this guy who actually has charisma and Talent is being personally attacked all the Time. The 12 Min Trailer looks exiting. AND there is only my comment because people don't care anymore what the so called critics have to offer. There is only a handful who are actually fair and knowledgeable..the rest are too lazy , bias or u Mam

    Posted by xxx | Thursday 01 March 2012 @ 19:43

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  • Obviously you didn't understand the story. Georges is supposed to be a hollow character, he lacks passion and just uses women to get ahead, he doesn't have feelings for them, except somewhat for the character Christina plays, and the audience can see that. They had great chemistry and you cold tell he had feelings for her alone.

    But even that wasn't enough to sway his climb to the top. All the actors played their parts beautifully, you just didn't have the eyes or heart to see it.

    Posted by Melissa | Thursday 01 March 2012 @ 20:38

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  • EXACTLY. A lot of people said the same sort of things about Kevin Bacon in 'The Hollow Man', where he played a totally invisible-murderer.

    It was a complex movie where Kevin invents some sort of glowing blue chemical that makes Gorillas see-through. He ultimately decides to test it on himself and goes on a screaming-invisible rampage through an underground military complex, killing all the other scientists before being exploded-to-fuck in an elevator.

    Reception to the film was generally negative with critics describing Bacon's performance as both 'dis-likable' and 'hollow'.....but this was kind of the point.

    Kevin clearly understood that the character he was playing was supposed to distant and intangible; personality traits that an audience might find hard to connect to especially if he is invisibly killing people to death.

    They made a sequel called HOLLOW MAN 2: HOLLOW MEN
    It starred Christian Slater.

    Posted by FRED FLETCH | Thursday 01 March 2012 @ 21:30

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  • LMAO Twihards already freaking out! "Critics know nothing! We know more about acting and good films than you! Rob's the best, you hate him because we're sooo Team Edward!". Did I miss something? Pattinson is so limited that he can't even get he can't play serious roles. Just embarassing, him and his Team Edward nutties.

    Posted by telma | Friday 02 March 2012 @ 02:08

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  • This critic is obviously Team Jacob. Do you even understand the book, I don't think so. Robert Pattinson is the best actor of this generation. You are too blind to see his talent.

    Posted by Cynthia | Friday 02 March 2012 @ 08:03

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  • Please, I ask all these people who call themselves journalists and reviewers of movies, read books before.

    So, you don´t have done their job well. Rating ... 0

    Posted by pitu | Friday 02 March 2012 @ 10:21

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  • I agree with XXX. This looks like a really exiting film, although I am bias because Robert Pattinson is all what I care for.

    And every, please remember that it's mother's day soon, so don't forget to like U Mam.

    Posted by Bernard | Friday 02 March 2012 @ 11:57

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  • Well, to be honest, Pattinson was only 23 when he made this movie versus at least 10 years older for even his youngest costar so the actresses he plays against have a huge edge on him in experience, right? I'm not getting how him trying to be taken seriously as an actor is a detriment to the film or how the directors could have squeezed all the debauchery of Paris into an hour and a half movie. From the trailer, it looks interesting to me, but I think certain expectations for a low budget period piece is kind of over inflated.

    Posted by prat | Friday 02 March 2012 @ 12:06

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  • The Eiffel Tower was build in 1889,and Bel Ami was published in 1885,so you can't see something that doesn't exist.

    Posted by Kanerwa | Saturday 03 March 2012 @ 17:20

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  • It's obvious that you haven't read the book, because the Georges Duroy in the movie is exactly like the Georges Duroy in the book. I saw the movie at the premiere in Berlin and was absolutely mesmerized by Robert's performance. He's a brilliant actor and I feel sorry for you that you can't see that.

    Posted by Eileen | Sunday 04 March 2012 @ 20:05

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  • I can't wait to see this film and plan to go along on opening day but I feel I have to come to the reviewers defence. Bel Ami as a film should be able to stand alone, it should not be a prerequisite to have read the book to understand the film. If the reviewer or anyone watching the film does not understand the characters in the film then the actors, directors, screen writers etc have all failed.

    Posted by Linda | Tuesday 06 March 2012 @ 15:02

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  • Why should a reviewer read a book before seeing a film? Surely he should review the film on its own merits - especially considering as the majority of the audience will also be viewing it the same way.

    I saw the woeful Bel Ami in Berlin and can confirm its terrible. Secondly despite what the book may portray, Georges is made out to be the seducer in the film, so maybe you should spend less time berating this reviewer and save it for the film's directors

    Posted by PatrickGamble | Wednesday 07 March 2012 @ 17:10

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  • Patrick.....if you make a Movie about a Book and Actors get criticized because they do not fit into the perception the critic saw them in, it is necessary to point out the original thought of an author, or why would anybody adapt a Movie about a Book. Be real here , otherwise its just a screenwriters Story. Bel Ami is a classic Novel and should not be used to be distorted. How would you feel if they would chance the character in, lets say " the girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Lisbeth as a quirky funny easy go lucky you see......the whole Story would change. Betty missed the point and so she deserves no Star as a critic, in this matter

    Posted by xxx | Wednesday 07 March 2012 @ 19:41

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  • I don't get it...why make a Twilight movie without Bella? Is this like a prequel or something? Does anyone know if it tells how Edward became a vampire? OMG that wuld be SOOOO awesome! It's gonna be awesome awnyway cuz its got my future husband aka R-Patz in it.

    Robert, if you're reading this I LOVE YOU! Don't listen to the critics! They dont undertsand u like i do!!

    Posted by Twilight Fan | Wednesday 07 March 2012 @ 20:32

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  • XXX.

    If the 'filmmakers' distort the book to suit the screen then it's not the critics fault for pointing out how the film is perceived. Yes if Lisbeth had been changed in the GWTDT films I would be angry, but with the filmmaker who adapted the book not the critic who reviewed it. I have seen Bel Ami and from what I can gauge by some of these trolls is that in the novel Georges isn't a seducer of women - he certainly is in the film, and its what the directors have focused on, using stage techniques and acting styles which are illsuited to the bigscreen

    Posted by PatrickGamble | Thursday 08 March 2012 @ 11:35

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  • Patrick, the filmmakers didn't distort the book to suit the screen. They stayed true to the storyline. Georges is a character that can be discussed endlessly, depending of each ones perception of him. But there's no denial that he was superficial, hollow, willing to do whatever he could to belong to the happy few. He seduced women, not to obtain their love, but to climb the social ladder. They were instruments for him as he was one for them. That's a different kind of seducing and that showed well in the movie, heck the lack of passion.
    A reviewer has the right to point out his/her thoughts but when a reviewer criticizes an actor for showing qualities that were necessary to perform well a character, it bothers me. In case of adaptations from books to movies a reviewer can IMHO only judge a performance when he/she has read the book. He can judge the making of the movie, the setting, make-up or costumes but not performances if not read the book. Using the exemple of GWTDT: how would you react if a reviewer would criticize Rooney Mara for giving a cold, emotionless performance?

    Posted by louise | Thursday 08 March 2012 @ 19:34

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  • guys all need to get a life and leave the reviewer alone. She's completely entitled to her own perception and opinion of the movie.

    Posted by B | Tuesday 13 March 2012 @ 15:04

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  • I"ve been reading reviews of Bel Ami all over the net and the RPatz Robsessed people are going ape-shit crazy whenever there is a negative review!

    Posted by Daisy | Wednesday 04 April 2012 @ 01:52

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