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Bel Ami (15)


A chronicle of a young man's rise to power in Paris via his manipulation of the city's most influential and wealthy women.

The critical consensus

George is a hollow character, but it is a shame that the film is too.

**(*)(*)(*)Becky Bartlett, The Skinny, 24/02/2012

The result is a piece that’s diverting enough to look at, but doesn’t quite seem to know what its own point is.

***(*)(*)Hannah McGill, The List, 28/02/2012

Even with a strong cast to gild its endless chambers and salons, there's barely a spark of soul to fuel its story. Pattinson is no Malkovich either.

**(*)(*)(*)Olly Richards, Empire Online, 05/03/2012

A good-looking yet curiously tame adaptation of a saucy classic that showcases Pattinson’s ambition if not his full abilities.

***(*)(*)Jane Crowther, Total Film, 27/02/2012

First-time film-makers Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod have directed mostly for the London stage, and it shows in their attentiveness to character, but also in the stateliness of the film’s pace.

***(*)(*)Siobhan Synnot, The Scotsman, 06/03/2012

For all the lofty themes hinted at in Bel Ami, it’s ultimately little more than a tepid bodice-ripper.

**(*)(*)(*)Alistair Harkness, The Scotsman, 08/03/2012

The directors give the story a barbed conviction and the female players, especially, act to the hilt.

****(*)Nigel Andrews, Financial Times, 08/03/2012

The picture is handsomely staged and easy-on-the-eye but never establishes a fluent pace or tone, while the general point of the story escaped me.

**(*)(*)(*)Henry Fitzherbert, Daily Express, 08/03/2012

More fair-weather friend than fine friend.

Emma Paterson, Little White Lies, 08/03/2012

Donnellan and Ormerod, so assured when directing on stage for Cheek by Jowl, struggle with the challenges posed by a period movie.

**(*)(*)(*)Geoffrey Macnab, The Independent, 09/03/2012

It will do better than it deserves at the box office thanks to the teen-friendly casting of Robert Pattinson.

**(*)(*)(*)Chris Tookey, Daily Mail, 09/03/2012

Are we meant to sympathise or admire him as he seduces the wives of the great and the good? For three quarters of the running time we don’t know. For the rest, we don’t care.

David Edwards, Daily Record, 09/03/2012

Nothing deepens; no one gets interesting; and we end right back where we started.

**(*)(*)(*)Tim Robey, The Telegraph, 09/03/2012

It’s impossible to find anything redeemable about this film: an embarrassing script, laughable performances, uninspired casting, zero development and more shots of Pattinson’s smug face than should be legally permitted. This review comes with a warning: do not see this film.

(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)Andrew Latimer, TV Bomb, 10/03/2012

Is theatrical in all the worst ways, with its poky, cheap-looking sets and exaggerated performances pitched at the back row of the upper circle.

The Independent, 11/03/2012

Something is missing, and that is Maupassant's acute and detailed social observation.

Philip French, The Observer, 11/03/2012

Though the film creaks badly at times and succumbs to staginess at the drop of a lace hanky, everything at least looks the part.

***(*)(*)Alison Rowat, The Herald, 08/03/2012

Features about Bel Ami (15)

Robert Pattinson heads from Twilight to darkness in Bel Ami

Will Lawrence, Sunday Herald, 05/02/2012

Bel Ami directors on moving from stage to screen

STV, 01/03/2012

A heady mix of Twilight and a brave new dawn

Alison Rowat, The Herald, 01/03/2012

Bel Ami (15)

Where and when?

General release. Check local listings for show times.

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