bel ami

Bel Ami

Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman, Christina Ricci

Directed by Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 1.5
Community: star rating
5 1.5 0
June 7, 2012

Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart's partner in life and Twilight, has also had a difficult time breaking free of his vampire roots (see Remember Me and Water for Elephants). Unfortunately, Bel Ami, an adaptation of Guy de Maupassant's 1885 novel of social ambition, bathes him in a dark romanticism that evokes Edward Cullen. As Georges Duroy, a former cavalry officer in Algeria now eager to lead the good life in belle-epoque Paris, Pattinson gives the role a beauty eaten away by greed.

The film begins promisingly enough with the bedraggled Georges looking longingly through the windows of a chic Paris restaurant where the rich conspicuously enjoy their privileges. It's connect-the-dots screenwriting from Rachel Bennette that reduces his chances to build the character into something substantial, as Georges realizes his only talent might be seduction. Directors Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod, whose theater work with the Cheek by Jowl company they founded is marked by a distinction absent here, structure their film around lock-step encounters between Georges and the women who warm his bed and make his fortune.

Uma Thurman plays Madeleine, the wife of his former army buddy Charles Forestier (Philip Glenister), the political editor of the newspaper La Vie Française. Thanks to Madeleine, Georges gets a job at the paper and deludes himself that he has talent. When the light dawns, Georges amuses himself with the married Clotilde (a vibrant Christina Ricci), and then with the prim Virginie (Kristin Scott Thomas), the wife of the paper's editor (Colm Meaney). With that cast, we rightfully expect fireworks. What we get is the film equivalent of a wet blanket.

• Peter Travers' Summer Preview: 10 Must-See Movies

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Stillness Is the Move”

    Dirty Projectors | 2009

    A Wim Wenders film and a rapper inspired the Dirty Projectors duo David Longstreth and Amber Coffmanto write "sort of a love song." "We rented the movie Wings of Desire from Dave's brother's recommendation, and he had me go through it and just write down some things that I found interesting, and they made it into the song," Coffman said. As for the hip-hop connection, Longstreth explained, "The beat is based on T-Pain. We commissioned a radio mix of the song by the guy who mixes all of Timbaland's records, but the mix we made sounded way better, so we didn't use it."

    More Song Stories entries »