|My absolute favorite outfit in the film. (photo credit: allmoviephoto.com)|
Gorgeous costumes and a late 19th century Paris setting is enough to catch my eye. Bel Ami dazzled me visually, while relaxing in the Everyman Cinema at Maida Vale over the weekend. Madeleine Forestier, played by Uma Thurman, wore the most gorgeous costumes of all: long, lace dresses structured with corsets, richly colored gowns, and a dramatic black dress with an intricate lace veil. But other than the visuals, the film was not the most impressive. It's about a young poor man, who rises to power and gains wealth by seducing influential women in Paris. He gets the opportunity to rub shoulders with high society after he runs into a former fellow soldier in the military. The man became rich since leaving where they were once stationed, and welcomes the main character, Georges, to his home for dinner. Not having any evening attire, the man gives him some money to be sure he looks presentable enough in front of his wife and friends. That's when Georges feels his first rush of empowerment, spending half of the money on a prostitute at the bar. From there, he manipulates and sleeps with women who are able to give him the wealth and power he craves, while working for the leading political newspaper. The plot seems quite typical and the main character isn't even that hot. The movie definitely could have offered a more complex story line. Films set during that period generally pique my interest, but sometimes the setting, outfits, and cast are so grand that they forget the plot must be fantastic, as well.