Bel Ami is adapted from Guy de Maupassant’s novel of the same name and details the life of a young man in 19th century Paris who climbs his way up the social ladder by sleeping around with the wives of the rich. You would think that such a premise, while no doubt lacking in a substantial plot, would at least make up for this in style, however this is not the case.
Although boasting an A-list cast: Robert Pattinson as Georges and his lovers played by Christina Ricci, Uma Thurman and Kristen Scott Thomas, Bel Ami is completely hollow. Pattinson pouted and sneered his way through the film in an exaggerated fashion and Thurman’s accent was just not believable.
I was unsure how the audience was meant to feel towards Georges, obviously he is a cad but that was where it ended. There was simply not enough of a plot to engage with these characters. Period dramas on the lives of the bourgeoisie can be very entertaining but unfortunately Bel Ami just falls flat.
There has been much said of the fantastic costumes and sets, however all the female leads spent most of the duration of the film in the same dresses and there was nothing to indicate set wise that this was meant to be set in Paris – the directors have said that their budget was too small to allow shooting in the city.
Bel Ami will no doubt appeal to female audiences but not many others.