Box art for Bel Ami

Bel Ami

  • Rated R
  • HD and SD formats available

independent, special interest

An erotically charged drama about a charming and manipulative journalist's corrupt rise to power by seducing a series of powerful and wealthy mistresses; starring Robert Pattinson, Christina Ricci, and Uma Thurman.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 16
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Positive role models
1 out of 5
5 out of 5
2 out of 5

Robert Pattinson is bland in sex-filled costume drama.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that Twilight star Robert Pattinson further distances himself from the relatively wholesome role of Edward in Bel Ami, a strongly sexual period drama about a social climber who charms and seduces several upper-class women to live a life of luxury. There are many passionate sex scenes, several of which involve nudity (breasts and buttocks are visible). Language includes one "f--k," as well as insults about a character's humble background. Violence is relatively mild, but there's one fist fight and one disturbing scene when a man bloodily succumbs to consumption. Bel Ami isn't a film with positive messages or role models, but it could provoke interesting conversations about class, power, and sex.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about Bel Ami's issues of class and gender. How were they the two determining factors to a person's prospects in 19th-century French society?
  • Pattinson has a worldwide following for playing a particular character. Is it difficult to see him in such a different role?
  • Parents and teens can discuss how the movie depicts marriage. Was any couple in the movie happily married? Do you think adultery was dealt with too casually?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 20
    see all Bel Ami reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: The results aren't ribald or provocative or particularly exciting in any way; it's just a slog that will appeal mainly to enthusiasts of 19th-century undergarments.

- Alonso Duralde, The Wrap, Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fresh: An enjoyably soapy 19th-century costume drama with a crackling, female-centric cast that features Uma Thurman, Christina Ricci and Kristin Scott Thomas.

- Andrew O'Hehir,, Thursday, June 7, 2012

Rotten: The supposedly cunning protagonist registers as a cipher, and the directors' tendency to shoot dialogue scenes in close-up blunts any understanding of the social milieu he's trying to conquer.

- Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, Thursday, June 21, 2012

Audience Reviews

2 stars

Possessed by love. Consumed by desire. Not so great of a movie! The choice of Robert Pattinson as the hero, or antihero of Guy de Maupassant's novel is probably the main reason for the overall failure of the movie adaptation. Missing the artistic maturity necessary to sustain the depth of a complex character, he seems to feel uncomfortable in his role, and whereas at the beginning his pale, embarrassed face and posture may be suitable for the part of a former poor soldier entering the glittering world of high society, once he is part of it, those same face and posture reveal his true feeling ill at ease in what is a totally unsuitable role for him. That's why the story, centred on his figure, develops in a boring, pedantic way, showing no punch and no real pathos, in search for a bounce that never comes. Nothing to say against the brilliant female performances,the frivolous Christina Ricci is the only one who enlivens the pale and inexpressive face of Georges, but Uma Thurman and Kristin Scott Thomas compete for the best performance, the first perfect in the role of the ambiguous Madeleine, and the latter courageous in her role of an ageing married woman, losing her mind for a young lover, and the last scene with her dressed in black at her daughter's marriage to Georges proves the only vivid moment within the whole picture. Georges Duroy is a penniless soldier returning from war. He travels to Paris in a search for ways to improve his social and financial status. He uses his wit and powers of seduction to charm wealthy women.

- MANUGINO, Tuesday, November 27, 2012

2 stars

A rushed and insipid soap-opera with lame perfomances, especially by Robert Pattinson, who is a terrible actor and is completely miscast as an ambitious seducer - unable to show how his character feels and what could possibly draw those refined women to him.

- blacksheepboy, Thursday, July 5, 2012

2 stars

A drama starring Robert Pattinson is not an easy task, and the directors Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod had a difficulty convincing me that he was the perfect match for Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Christina Ricci and Colm Meaney. I watched it to the end wishing a little bit more but it was always lacking full satisfaction. The story is based on the 1885 French novel of the same name by Guy de Maupassant which is a wonderful and very enjoyable work... while the film Bel Ami contains more soapy pleasures rushing through the real story. Robert Pattinson was in a role of Georges Duroy (Pattinson describes Duroy as being "completely amoral"), Uma Thurman was Madeleine Forestier, Duroy's secret love interest, and later wife, Kristin Scott Thomas was Madame Walter, whose lover Duroy becomes to further his interests, Christina Ricci as Clotilde de Marelle, who even though married genuinely loves Duroy, and Colm Meaney as Rousset. Not a bad casting. It was obvious that directors targeted the art film audience, premiering the film out of competition at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival, but not many could see the artistic value in it. To me, it seems that 9 million could be spent on something with more substance. Watchable, but not special.

- panta2, Friday, November 9, 2012