Chabrol's long-delayed adaptation of Flaubert's novel is as suffocating as its heroine's predicament. Emma, the ambitious farmer's daughter taken for a wife by arch-mediocrity Dr Bovary (Jean-François Balmer in a perfectly controlled performance), has been the subject of see-sawing literary interpretations since the 1860s. Chabrol sticking to the letter of the text avoided the temptation to cast her in a modernised feminist role and stressed instead her stifling limitation of choices in provincial 19th century France. Isabelle Huppert, often a blood-drained, internalised actress, outdoes herself here, playing Emma in a distracted, half-comatose state, resuscitated briefly by the odd gowned ball or the lifeline to passion proffered by heart-breaker Rodolphe (Malavoy). The birth of a child fails to bring light into her eyes. A classical art movie saturated with Chabrol's dark romantic pessimism.