PART II (of 3 parts)
Our second film, Madame Bovary (c.1950), is based on Flaubert’s classic 1857 novel.
Jennifer Jones plays our heroine, Emma, whose overriding dream is to live out the myth of romantic love. Flaubert presents her in a compassionate light, believing her plight could be that of many women of that time, if they only had more courage to try to break free of their dissatisfaction.
Emma goes through many steps in trying to find her happiness: marriage, a home, a child, self-value through her husband’s accomplishments, being attractive, having affairs and material possessions.
From a young age, she had been exposed to many romantic books of the time, which fed her very active fantasy life. When Dr. Charles Bovary arrives at the family farm to tend to her father, her imagination is galvanized. She sees him as someone to rescue her, just like in the stories she grew up with. Charles assesses himself accurately as "just a country doctor, and not a particularly good one", but her need to idealize him blinds her.