Sublime visuals and sumptuous costuming, but the performances of nearly the entire cast fall flat. Mia Wasikowska is one of my favorite actresses, but Emma Bovary isn't as suited to her as the timid, quietly passionate Jane Eyre. She's too restrained in a role requiring more bravado, which is a shame.
Brave changes to the story, and some of them work (I never missed Berthe, but I did miss the ball). Is this the only adaptation to be directed by a woman? A very quiet, mannered, and Emma-focused version of the tale. We're in the Joe Wright era of literary adaptation, which means the costumes and photography are glaringly beautiful. Wasikowska shines, but no one else really knows what to do.
Although this film is quite predictable both as an adaptation of an already-so-revisited story and as a lets-see-how-patriarchal-and-misogynistic-Flaubert-was, this film is beautiful in its art direction and its cinematography. I am not quite sure about the over use of steady cam and specially the use of the hand held camera aesthetics (the intended meaning of that in an "epoch" film is quite confusing, isn't it?).
TIFF '14 Sophie Barthes gives us a fresh take on the Flaubert classic that while it doesn't live up to Chabrol's '91 effort does stand on its own. Pairing down the tale and making some changes inter connected with some modern parables gives the film some new life. Wasikowska gives a great turn with solid support across the line. Film is exceptionally shot with costume design to be awarded later. Worth a peak.