Bel Ami

Directed By: Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Christina Ricci, and Colm Meaney

I'm not going to sugarcoat it.  Robert Pattinson is not my favorite actor.  His Twilight flicks are everything movies shouldn't be — utter crap.  Team Edward has corrupted a generation of female moviegoers.  If his career in the acting world must continue, a film like Bel Ami is a good fit for him.  After all, playing a manwhore is a step up from playing a romantic vampire.

Georges Duroy (Pattinson) is a man who comes from little means.  When he arrives in Paris, he's a nobody who doesn't have a dime to his name.  His old friend Charles Forestier (Philip Glenister) helps him get a job at a local newspaper and introduces him to the most powerful people in Paris, the wives of rich men.  Naturally, Charles first introduces Georges to his own wife Madeleine (Uma Thurman).  He learns from her what it takes to gain power and wealth in this city — intimate connections with the wives.  While he starts out by having an affair with Clotilde de Marelle (Christina Ricci), Georges works his way up to seducing the most powerful wife in town, Virginie Walters (Kristin Scott Thomas).  She's the wife of newspaper magnate Rousset (Colm Meaney), Georges's boss.

Bel Ami is basically a period soap opera.  Robert Pattinson's Georges Duroy is getting around pleasuring well-to-do women all over the city.  He's got Christina Ricci's Clotilde, Kristin Scott Thomas's Virginie, and Uma Thurman's Madeleine.  With all this steamy drama, Pattinson's character is basically living the dream.  Like any soap opera though, the problem is not in the story, it's the acting.  In Georges Duroy, there's a rich character behind the mask of being a manwhore.  He's a man who comes from nothing and becomes something.  He’s a man who doesn’t want to go back to what he once was, a nobody.  Pattinson is a lesser actor who can't convey the true depth of his character.  Pattinson can play the role of a lover well, but nothing more. 

While Robert Pattinson doesn't give a decent performance, his lovers do.  Uma Thurman is always enjoyable as the crafty and deceitful Madeleine Forestier.  She brings a dark charm to the character that's mysteriously alluring.  I'm always partial to Christina Ricci.  She does what she does best as the somewhat air-headed Clotilde, and it works for the most part.  Kristin Scott Thomas is the woman who brings her acting chops to the table as Virginie.  She brings a quiet dignified charm when the film calls for it.  Her character becomes a clinger as the film progresses.  She layers her character quite well and offers the most entertaining performance.

I wavered a little on the Bel Ami rating initially.  I enjoyed the performances by Thurman, Ricci, and Thomas, but Pattinson didn't do anything for me.  As much as I enjoyed the supporting cast, Bel Ami is the Robert Pattinson Show.  He simply doesn't get the job done.  Bel Ami gets a 0.09% rating.  When in doubt, drink more.  It's always safer when watching a flick, especially one with a Twilight star.  Have some brandy with this one.