“Experience would always be a prison, and freedom would lie always beyond the horizon.”

Motion Picture starring Jennifer Jones as Emma Bovary

Motion Picture starring Jennifer Jones as Emma Bovary


I was looking for something to watch this evening, and came across the 1949 motion pitcure of Madame Bovary. I have never read nor heard of this movie before I decided to watch it. And now I can honestly say that there is another book which I wish to read.

The movie tells the story of Emma Bovary, the wife of a local doctor; a woman who lives for her dreams and the perfect stories that she used to read in forbidden books. Emma finds an escape from her life through a number of gentlemen and pretty dresses, but finds reality can catch up with her. Once she realises that there is nowhere else for her to run, and no one who can save her, from her debt and from society’s cruel hand of judgement, she gives up and takes her life.

As I watched I found myself leaving the realms of sympathy and beginning to believe that Emma truly was a selfish woman; she had a perfectly good husband, and a beautiful baby girl. Maybe she would never have the best life, the life that her stories had made her believe was possible, but she had the potential to be happy. As Emma began her decent from grace, I really began to feel for her husband Charles; he had done nothing but love Emma, and do everything he could right by her, and their child was innocent of everything within the chaos.

Oh her gowns were pretty, and her suitors sweet, if not a little pushy. But dinner, dancing and all the riches in the world cannot equate to true happiness. There were times when I wanted to blame Emma completely for the things she ahd done, but as the movie ended and I came to pity her. All she wanted was a beautiful life, and it cannot be considered a crime to want things to be pretty.

During the course of the movie, I couldn’t help but continue taking note on some of the similarities between Emma Bovary and one of the characters I have been trying to write. My character lives in a completely different place in a relatively different time, but where society will still shun a woman of low moral standing. It was enlightening as to how one person can effect the lives of so many, especially as she was only in pursuit of her dreams. The movie also gave an insight into how society will act and react around a supposedly honourable woman; people will talk and people will assume, but they will struggle to find forgiveness when the pursuit of dreams turns sour.

I will be taking a number of things from this movie and it has given me a lot to think about regarding what I am writing. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the book, I’ve heard that it is meant to be a lot better than the movie, so I’ll give it a go, and maybe I’ll learn something else.