Film adaptations of timeless literary classics are a dime a dozen, but when they look as gorgeous as Sophie Barthes' upcoming spin on Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary, it's hard to not take notice. The film's first trailer treats its viewers to breathtaking compositions and images from the course of its running time; we're left with a great first impression and the sense that Barthes' work could live up to the source material.
And then again, maybe it won't. Last year, Therese Raquin received a modern screen update via In Secret, and even the talents of Elizabeth Olsen (The Avengers: Age of Ultron), Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), and Jessica Lange (American Horror Story) couldn't carry the production; Madame Bovary, with its stacked cast and highbrow craftsmanship, is in the exact same vein, except that it looks more promising by far.
So the trailer does the job it's meant to do. If you need brushing up on your French lit, Flaubert's novel is about the unhappy marriage of doctor Charles Bovary (Henry Lloyd-Hughes) to Emma, the madame of the title (Crimson Peak's Mia Wasikowska, whose work in Cary Fukunaga's Jane Eyre may serve her well here); she's a young romantic who grows fatigued by her staid matrimony and seeks fulfillment outside what Charles can offer.
That means a series of affairs with Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) and Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus), as well as ill-advised expenditures through the sneaky merchant Lheureux (Rhsy Ifans), which put her into crushing debt.
Spoiler alert: Madame Bovary doesn't have a happy ending, but then, most books written in the 1800's didn't. If nothing else, Barthes' film looks fantastic. We'll see if it has merit beyond its visuals once it arrives in theaters.
Madame Bovary opens in US theaters in 2015.