Bel Ami
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Though he reached superstar status by playing a moody teen vampire, Robert Pattinson hasn’t exactly been content to sit back and soak it all in. Instead, he’s been surprisingly diligent about seeking out other, non-vampire roles—most likely in hopes of ensuring that his career doesn’t end with the Twilight series. Unfortunately for Pattinson, though, the roles he’s chosen haven’t exactly helped his career—and his period drama Bel Ami is no exception.

After serving in the military in Algeria, Georges Duroy (Pattinson) settles in 1890 Paris, hoping to find fortune among the city’s rich and fabulous. Upon arriving in the city, he reconnects with a fellow soldier, Charles Forestier (Philip Glenister), who’s eager to help him out. Forestier introduces him to several influential men—and, even more importantly, their wives, who are immediately taken by the quietly charming young man.

With help from Forestier’s outspoken wife, Madeline (Uma Thuman) and the other women, Duroy quickly gains power and influence (and finds his share of pleasure, too). But when he becomes arrogant and greedy for more, his perfect world begins to crumble around him.

Don’t be fooled by the period setting or the beautiful costumes or even the notable cast list; Bel Ami is just another Rob Pattinson movie. Once again, the one-note actor plays a moody yet irresistibly handsome young man who, for some inexplicable reason, makes women swoon wherever he goes.

But Pattinson’s character isn’t really an irresistible kind of character—the kind of lovable scamp that audiences can’t help but love. Instead, he’s often sullen and brooding. He’s blatantly opportunistic and self-centered. And he’s so obviously using the women to get what he wants. Meanwhile, the more they give, the more he wants—and the more pompous and arrogant he becomes. And instead of rooting him on, eager to see how he’ll come out on top, audiences will become more and more irritated, hoping that he’ll get what he deserves in the end.

At the same time, the women around him may be influential, but none of them are much more likeable than Pattinson’s Georges. Madeline is strong and intelligent—the kind of woman who knows what she wants and does whatever it takes to get it—but she’s also cold and calculating and (for the most part) almost robotic. Christina Ricci’s amorous Clotilde is a complete pushover when it comes to Georges—no matter how many times he hurts her or takes advantage of her. And though Kristin Scott Thomas’s Virginie initially seems like a level-headed woman of means, she eventually collapses into fits of hysteria whenever Georges is around (not entirely unlike a devoted Twilight fan).

As a result, Bel Ami is little more than a cast of characters that you won’t really like, caught up in a tangle of stories that you won’t really care about. It’s a beautiful period drama, but its beauty goes only skin deep. And it definitely won’t help Pattinson break out of his moody teen rut.

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