Martin (Fabrice Luchini), an ex-Parisian with a deep appreciation for Gustave Flaubert, has settled in a village in Normandy as a baker. He sees a British couple moving into an old property across the road. Their names, Gemma (Gemma Arterton) and Charles Bovery (Jason Flemyng), echo those of the leading characters in Flaubert’s 1856 masterpiece Madame Bovary. Martin engages with the young couple and observes that Gemma’s behavior replicates that of her namesake, including romantic and sexual liaisons that suggest she is headed for a tragic finale like that of the novel. He intervenes but cannot alter the inevitable.