Bel Ami


Crime / Drama / History / Romance

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 27% · 95 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 29%
IMDb Rating 5.4/10 10 19015 19K

Plot summary

Georges Duroy travels through 1890s Paris, from cockroach ridden garrets to opulent salons, using his wits and powers of seduction to rise from poverty to wealth, from a prostitute’s embrace to passionate trysts with wealthy beauties, in a world where politics and media jostle for influence, where sex is power and celebrity an obsession.

July 19, 2023 at 03:33 AM


Declan Donnellan

Top cast

Christina Ricci as Clotilde de Marelle
Natalia Tena as Rachel the Prostitute
Robert Pattinson as Georges Duroy
Uma Thurman as Madeleine Forestier
941.22 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 42 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by DICK STEEL 7 / 10

A Nutshell Review: Bel Ami

Robert Pattinson is probably trying very hard to shake off his glittering vampire role in Twilight that had earned him millions of fans and followers worldwide, opting to play a shady character who's not very talented, but possessing enough good looks to tempt and seduce his way up the social ladder in 20th century Paris, and to chase fame and fortune by milking the right female connections in his established network. He's a cad with a capital C, without much of a plan except to sleep his way to get what he wants.

The story, by Rachel Bennette based on the 1885 French novel by Guy de Maupassant, deals with the notion of how far good looks can get one ahead in life when one is without much talent or smarts, having a number of doors that can be opened from a simple praise, or a smile, and to have urges satisfied by being emotionally and physically available, even if the former mindset and actions are nothing more than a little play pretense.

This is the classic rags to riches story and the story about insatiable greed in always wanting something more, or someone more beautiful. Pattinson plays Georges Duroy, an impoverished man who just came back from the war front, and given a leg up in life when he runs into an old acquaintance who himself is married to old money. Pattinson almost sets his eye on his friend's wife Madeleine Forestler (Uma Thurman), if not for her to spurn his advances and to set the record straight that she's there only to help him initially in his job as a columnist..

It is Madeleine's doing however, to set him off into the arms of her friend Clotilde de Marelle (Christina Ricci), whose husband is almost always out of town, and soon both Georges and Clotilde become adulterous lovers, made all the more convenient when Clotilde gets their own love nest where they can carry out their illicit affair. In effect Clotilde becomes his sugar mommy, and of course tongues will start to wag and Georges becomes increasingly erratic in not able to control his emotions, before ruining a life that's perfectly set up. But second chances always present themselves, and Georges couldn't get it any better with being reinstated in his job thanks to Virginie Walters (Kristin Scott Thomas), and ultimately being able to get married to Madeleine.

But life isn't all that rosy, with Madeleine spending a lot of time on politics behind the scenes of a revolution spear-headed by the newspaper and editors Georges works for, and herself having her own lovers that Georges was warned way early of, and when Georges starts to plot, things get very ugly indeed as his true colours start to show, emotionally breaking Virginie, and unleashing his vengeance on Madeleine, made all the more worst when he felt he had been played out of a huge chunk of wealth, and going after the innocence of Suzanne Rousset (Holliday Grainger) as revenge against her father and his one-time corporate nemesis.

And the surprise package here is Pattinson. Sure we can take out potshots and laugh at his turn as the glittering, pale vampire involved in a romance that doesn't know when to call it quits, but his effort here as the amorous and the evil Georges Duroy is something to sit up and take notice. But of course the women surrounding him all made him look good as well, with Christina Ricci being relatively underrated here as a woman desperate for true love, while Uma Thurman does quite the about turn now from her early debut during Dangerous Liaisons, progressing from what was once the equivalent of a Suzanne Rousset, to an ambitious woman who will do what it takes to secure a stake in the power play amongst men. Kristin Scott Thomas is perhaps the most underused here, only appearing in a handful of scenes toward the end, playing the most vulnerable of the female characters bearing full brunt of Georges Duroy at his most despicable.

Directors Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod has quite a classy film in their hands, with lush sets and costumes transporting the reader instantly to a period Paris, and with the quality of cast at their disposal, delivered an intensely engaging drama about the temptation and seduction of power, and the incessant obsession with the climbing of the social ladder given the promises of fame and fortune that comes automatically with the ascension of each rung. Recommended!

Reviewed by ursulahemard 8 / 10

Events happen very fast, it's mainly fully understandable to those who have actually read, loved, discussed and grasped the novel!

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant!!!…having read the book not only once, in German but also in French, I was impressed by this movie adaptation of the French classic novel by Guy de Maupassant (5 August 1850 – 6 July 1893) .

I must admit however, that the events happen very fast (it is very hard to pack such an intense and complex story into 160minutes) and it's mainly fully understandable to those who have actually read, loved, discussed and grasped the novel. The movie incorporates many swift innuendos and hints at passages taken directly from the novel. It is is very accurate to, and there are even scenes and dialogues straight from, the novel. The relevant essence of 19th century French society rules is obvious. And even though the director skips some of the specific historical and political details, the viewer gets indications and references to catch on. The actors/characters from the book, especially the ladies in question, couldn't be cast more perfectly Uma Thurman, the immaculate representation of Madeleine int he novel, Kristin Scott- Thomas, ditto as Virginie with her age, looks and temperament and Christina Ricci, down-to- earth, less intellectual but utterly sensual (maybe with a little exception of Ricci who played Clotilde's character perfectly, but should have been more voluptuous physically).

Robert Pattinson impersonated the poor protagonist George Duroy, without name nor heritage, however street-smart and snobbish, yet still sensitive and compassionate arriviste George Duroy, just as I imagined so many years ago upon reading the book. You might despise or pity, but you will always love him in the meantime. Beautiful authentic settings, costumes and props and the soundtrack just gets under your the skin, courtesy of . If you still question Robert Pattison as an actor (which I did, but do no more) then at least you may praise the direction of Declan Donnellan & Nick Ormerod…. for … the movie is simply…very good, VERY Good indeed...

Reviewed by kosmasp 8 / 10

Patt is on

I can see that a lot of people didn't like the movie. And it makes sense, because this is not fancy, nor does it try to be popular. And there is no big story backing this up either. But you can see by my rating that I did like it. I have to admit, I'm not a fan of those Twilight movies (though the first one did exactly what it promised ... for the target audience). But Robert P. does show that there is more to him than glitter and pouting. Of course there was "Remember me" and other movies that would back that up, but this is the first movie where he has a stellar cast beside him, that also works as a drama.

There is a dark and sinister side to the character he is playing here and there are a lot of nice little moments where the "true" character is coming to light and shows his true colors. The performance is brilliant, but will be overlooked by a few for obvious reasons. Still, if you like drama movies with great performances, you probably will like this too.

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