What A Miss
Having left the army in Africa Georges Duroy (Robert Pattinson) arrives in Paris with a desire to make his fortune having arrived with next to nothing in his pocket. But he runs in to old army acquaintance Charles Forestier (Philip Glenister) who introduces him to his wife and friends and also gives him a job writing on the paper he works for. Whilst Georges struggles with the written word Charles' wife Madeleine Forestier (Uma Thurman) helps him and the handsome Georges tries to seduce her. His attention then moves on to Madeleine's friends as he uses his charms to seduce Virginie Rousset (Kristin Scott Thomas) and Clotilde de Marelle (Christina Ricci) as he climbs the social ladder. But it is a shaky ladder which Georges is climbing and it is only a matter of time before it comes crashing down.
So "Bel Ami" is basically the story of a pretty boy charmer who uses his looks to climb the social ladder, manipulating women along the way. As such I couldn't help but think that if this had been made 20 years earlier it would have starred someone like Rob Lowe or Tom Cruise, actors who could bring seduction and charisma to the role rather than just vacant good look. Yes one of the issues with "Bel Ami" is the casting of Robert Pattinson as whilst he has the looks which have made him popular with young girls he lacks the seductive charm of the likes of Lowe, Cruise and even Pitt.
But in fairness to Pattinson, who I am sure given the right role could excel, not a single actor excels in "Bel Ami" and that is because we are given such a shallow movie which does not allow for character depth. We get what there is, the story of a chancer seducing women to climb the social ladder and that is it, which yes does mean sex scenes and nudity but no depth, no motivation or character building. The irony is that it isn't even steamy or erotic and lacks so much passion it is ridiculous.
What this all boils down to that "Bel Ami" is just a miss, a movie which ends up about the look, the pretty cast, the sex scenes and nothing else. Maybe with more time and money the story could be made into a movie with depth, intrigue and drama.